Diabetes mellitus is one of the most serious diseases and common diseases out there. Unfortunately, the number of new cases in senior adults (65 years or older) is increasing every day. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), it’s estimated that 15.9 million or (29.2%) of patients who have diabetes are elderly patients. That being said, there are many ways to manage this condition and prevent further diabetes-related complications.1
Diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels that are hard to regulate and in elderly patients, they manifest in the following signs and symptoms:
It’s important to get checked out by a doctor and undergo diagnostic tests if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms. Since early diagnosis goes a long way to preventing future complications from developing down the road, the ADA recommends regular screening every three years for people who are 45 years or older.
If you’re experiencing any of the previously mentioned symptoms, you need to consult your doctor right away so that they can perform the proper tests and plan the best treatment and management strategy most suitable for you.
To confirm a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, your doctor will use one of the following tests:
A1C test. This test is designed to measure the average or accumulated blood glucose levels in your blood for the duration of two to three months.
Fasting blood glucose test. You have to fast at least 8 hours before taking this test to measure your blood glucose levels without any stimulants and compare it to the normal value. If you’re a diabetic, your blood glucose level will generally be higher than normal.
Random blood glucose test. This test lies on the same premise as the fasting blood glucose test, except you, don’t have to fast for this one. However, the normal range used for comparison is different.
Oral glucose tolerance test. The idea behind this test is to determine how your body reacts to glucose. In this test, you’ll be required to measure your blood glucose levels before and two hours after you drink a glucose drink.
According to the National Institute of Aging, diabetes treatment is different for each patient according to several factors which include patients’ age, medical history, overall health, other associated comorbidities, the severity of the diseases, and previous treatments. However, they generally involve lifestyle changes, exercise, and medications (insulin or metformin).8
So, it’s best to follow up with your healthcare provider to prescribe the best treatment and management plan for you.
Older adults are especially vulnerable to developing cognitive impairment and depression if they have diabetes compared with other seniors their age who don’t have diabetes — which makes it very challenging to apply self-care and comply with management practices.
This condition is known as diabetes distress when the patient feels like their disease is controlling them instead of the other way around.
Nevertheless, patients can seek support from their doctors, help groups, or loved ones to help them through this.
If you’re caring for a diabetes senior, you can help them manage their disease and alleviate their symptoms through the following best practices:
Older adults are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its complications. This is mainly because they ignore their symptoms and classify them as getting older. However, early diagnosis and management of diabetes can go a long way to preventing severe life-threatening complications, like strokes, kidney failure, and depression.
Regular check-ups and looking out for diabetes symptoms are the best way to catch this disease early on and treat it. Moreover, you need to discuss your options with your doctor so that they can guide you to the best possible plan to manage this condition.
Leave a Reply