8 Practical Ways to Manage Diabetes In Seniors
The incidence of diabetes among seniors is on the rise, mainly due to lifestyle changes and increased lifespan. Understanding what causes diabetes and effective ways to manage it is crucial to maintaining the quality of life among seniors. This article outlines eight practical ways to manage diabetes in seniors.
- The International Diabetes Federation reported in 2021 that there were over 537 million people with diabetes worldwide, which is expected to rise to 643 million by 2030.
- Among these, over 136.6 million are aged 65-99 years, highlighting the prevalence of the condition among the elderly population.
Understanding the Diabetes Types
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
People with Type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin because the body’s immune system has destroyed the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. In seniors, Type 1 diabetes is usually a lifelong condition.
- Type 1 Diabetes, typically diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood, represents about 5-10% of all diabetes cases.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
In Type 2 diabetes, the body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.
- Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for around 90-95% of all diagnosed cases.
- While it can occur at any age, it’s more common in people over the age of 45 and significantly more prevalent in those over 65.
Here are eight practical strategies to manage diabetes in seniors:
- Regular Physical Activity: The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week (or a combination of both), spread over at least 3 days during the week, with no more than two consecutive days without exercise for adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- Healthy Diet: A balanced diet plays a significant role in managing blood sugar levels. It is recommended that carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and dairy products should be included in the diet. A variety of protein sources, including fish, lean meats, poultry, eggs, and plant-based proteins such as beans, peas, and soy products, should also be part of the diet.
- Regular Medical Checkups: Routine medical checkups are essential in monitoring the progression of the disease and adjusting treatment plans accordingly.
- Medication Management: Seniors with diabetes should take prescribed medications regularly and consult with healthcare providers about any side effects or problems.
- Stress Management: Activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and hobbies can help reduce stress levels, which can impact blood glucose levels.
- Regular Glucose Monitoring: Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels allows seniors to manage their condition effectively and make necessary adjustments to their lifestyle or medication.
- Social Support: Encouraging participation in support groups or involving family members in care can enhance emotional well-being and help seniors better cope with the disease.
- Diabetes Education: Seniors should be educated about the symptoms, risks, and management strategies of diabetes to better manage their condition and prevent complications.
In conclusion, while the rise in diabetes among seniors is alarming, implementing these strategies can significantly improve their quality of life. Despite these challenges, diabetes can be effectively managed through education, lifestyle changes, and medication, ensuring that our seniors live their golden years in the best health possible.
- International Diabetes Federation (IDF). IDF Diabetes Atlas 10th Edition 2021. Brussels, Belgium: IDF; 2021.
- American Diabetes Association. 2. Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2021. Diabetes Care 2021; 44(Supplement 1): S15-S33.
- Mayo Clinic. Type 2 diabetes. 2021. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20351193.
- American Diabetes Association. 5. Facilitating Behavior Change and Well-being to Improve Health Outcomes: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2021. Diabetes Care 2021; 44(Supplement 1): S53-S72.
- Evert, Alison B., et al. Nutrition therapy for adults with diabetes or prediabetes: A consensus report. Diabetes Care 2019; 42(5): 731-754.