Diabetes and How to Help Seniors Living with This Condition
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Is Diabetes Genetic: An Overview and Best Practices for Caring for Yourself

When the body cannot convert the sugar in the blood into energy, a person is said to be diabetic. According to research, about 10.9 million seniors are affected by diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes, and the number is projected to reach 26.7 million by 2050. This health condition has also been ranked the seventh primary cause of death in the U.S. and the number one cause of adult blindness, limb amputation, as well as kidney failure.

Types of Diabetes

  • Type 1 is a chronic condition that develops when the pancreas makes little or fails to produce insulin. This type is common in children, teens, and young adults.
  • Type 2 develops when the body cells fail to respond normally to the insulin hormone.
  • Gestational Diabetes: This type occurs when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin during pregnancy. However, while this condition goes away after delivery, the chances of developing type 2 diabetes are high for the mother and the kid.

Blood Sugar Level Ranges

  • Normal Level: Less than 140 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L)
  • High Level: 200 mg/dl and above (11.1 mmol/L)
  • Prediabetic: Between 140 mg/dl-199 mg/dl (7.8 mmol/L-11.1 mmol/L)

Common Symptoms to Know

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual feeling of thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Persistent feelings of weakness and tiredness
  • Blurry vision

Is Diabetes Genetic?

According to the American Diabetes Association, an individual is more likely to develop diabetes if their siblings, mother, or father have this condition or if the mother had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant.

How Can One Reduce the Risk of Developing Diabetes if they Have a Family History of the Condition?

According to Diabetes Prevention Program, an individual can make changes to reduce their chances of developing diabetes in the future. These changes include:

Going for Regular Check-ups

When a senior loved one is at a high risk of developing diabetes, they should get routinely checked twice a year. They can also request the latest blood sugar meter from their healthcare provider to monitor their blood sugar at home.

Lose Extra Weight

Carrying excess weight puts one at risk of developing severe health issues such as heart disease, hypertension, including diabetes. While seniors may add weight due to various factors such as genetics, metabolism, body type, and hormones, most add weight because they consume more energy than they burn.

Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy weight range to minimize the risk of developing this condition. Seniors should consult with dietitians for a well-tailored weight-loss program that suits their needs.

Change Diet

Switching to healthier eating habits could be an excellent step to prevent diabetes. Including more fiber-rich foods can help slow the absorption of sugars, lowering blood glucose levels. Fiber-rich foods include:

  • Fruits
  • Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens
  • Legumes, like beans
  • Whole grain such as whole-grain rice or whole-wheat pasta

However, before switching to healthier eating habits, it's essential to consult a nutritionist to help create an appropriate diet plan.

Be Active

Exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes has several benefits for seniors such as:

  • Reducing blood glucose levels
  • Helps one shed extra weight
  • Boosts one's sensitivity to the insulin hormone

Before creating an exercise routine, it's essential to consult a fitness coach to know the proper exercise to do.

Although diabetes is a chronic health issue, seniors living with it can live for many years with proper management and treatment.

Let Us Help You

If you have a senior loved one in need of in-home care services, we can help. Senior Helpers Baltimore is the foremost provider of in-home senior care throughout Baltimore, Annapolis, Columbia, Baltimore County, and Howard County. We provide customized home care services ranging from companion care to in-depth specialized care for senior clients with Alzheimer's, Dementia, Parkinson's, as well as other chronic diseases.

Contact us today for more details.