Checking glucose levels. Injecting insulin. Carefully watching your diet. If this describes a normal day in your life, or that of a senior you love, you understand firsthand the challenges that come as you manage diabetes. As November is Diabetes Awareness Month, the aging care team at Home With You Senior Care is pleased to share the following information every diabetic – and each family member who cares for one – should know.
What Does It Mean to Have Diabetes?
Simply speaking, our bodies transform a number of the foods we eat into glucose, which provides the energy we need – but only if our bodies make an adequate amount of the hormone insulin to break down the glucose for our cells to be able to access it. Diabetics’ bodies are either not able to make enough insulin (type 1 diabetes), or are not able to utilize the insulin correctly (type 2 diabetes), bringing about an excessive amount of glucose in the blood.
Left untreated, diabetes may bring about significant health problems, such as eye, kidney, and nerve complications, heart problems and stroke, as well as an elevated risk for Alzheimer’s or cancer.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
Lots of people with type 2 diabetes have such mild symptoms, or symptoms which come and go, that they don’t even realize there’s an issue until the disease progresses and symptoms worsen. Signs to watch out for include:
- Increased thirst and/or hunger
- Loss of weight
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- Slower healing of cuts and bruises
- Skin infections
It is essential to consult with your doctor if any of these symptoms become evident.
Can You Manage Diabetes?
Fortunately, once diagnosed and effectively treated, and with adherence to lifestyle changes, diabetes can be managed and controlled. For some, adjustments to diet and exercise are sufficient, while others need to have insulin injections and/or medication.
Your physician will put together a diabetes management plan to follow, which can include:
- How and when to track blood sugar levels
- Which foods to eat and which to avoid
- Exercises and physical activities
- A medication regimen
Strategies to maximize health while managing diabetes include:
- Manage your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and have them checked on a routine basis.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Get annual flu and pneumonia vaccines, as well as annual eye and kidney exams.
- Check your feet on a daily basis to look for blisters, calluses, red patches, sores, or any other skin abnormalities, and see a podiatrist with any concerns.
- Keep skin clean, protected, and moisturized.
- Ask the doctor for guidelines on cancer screenings, and for guidance on any other physical, emotional, or mental health concerns being experienced.
Home With You Senior Care, a provider of home care in Ellicott City, can help individuals diagnosed with diabetes in many ways, including meal planning and preparation in accordance with dietary restrictions, medication reminders, and so much more. Email or call us at 410-756-0959 for a free in-home consultation for additional details on our professional home care in Ellicott City and the surrounding areas.