Diabetes is a chronic disease that causes your body’s blood sugar (glucose) levels to fluctuate at unhealthy levels. As our body turns the food we eat into sugar, called glucose, it also needs insulin to help said glucose get into our cells for energy. If you have diabetes, your body either isn’t producing enough insulin on its own, or is unable to facilitate it, or both.
According to the CDC, 33% of adults 65+ have diabetes. This staggering statistic is only expected to be on the rise.
Fact 1: The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes
While type 1 diabetes usually develops early in life, it can manifest in older adults, as well. Type 1 diabetes is the case in which your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. The unfortunate truth is, there are no known risk factors and therefore surefire ways to prevent it.
Type 2 diabetes on the other hand may be more common, is also lifestyle-based, and can be reduced by losing excess weight through proper diet and exercise, which improves the body’s ability to use insulin and process glucose. Moving your body just 30 minutes a day can have a huge, healthy impact. Coupled with healthy eating habits that focus on fresh veg and fruit, whole grains, and lean protein while simultaneously cutting back on red meat.
Fact 2: Five other health problems that can stem from diabetes
If you have too much blood sugar (glucose), it can damage your blood vessels and nerves throughout your entire body. This can lead to other health issues such as:
· Heart disease
· Kidney disease
· Vision issues and even blindness
· Issues with your extremities such as hands, fingers, feet and toes
Fact 3: Symptoms often look like something else
Diabetes manifests in the body with symptoms that range from mild to severe. If you have any doubt at all that a symptom might be pointing towards a larger issue, do not hesitate to contact your trusted healthcare provider!
Symptoms can include:
· Excessive thirst or hunger
· Excessive urination
· Blurry vision
· Fatigue, fainting and dizziness
· Unexplained weight loss
· Tingling in the hands and feet
· Slow-healing wounds
· Sores that develop on the feet
Fact 4: Watch out for “prediabetes”
Prediabetes is when the body has higher than normal levels of glucose, putting it at greater risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. A healthy lifestyle is often all it takes to get back on track, but it’s still important to get your glucose levels checked regularly and speak with your trusted healthcare provider if further testing or medication is required.
Fact 5: Do not underestimate the power of a healthy lifestyle
We’ve mentioned it twice already, but do not underestimate the power of regular exercise, a healthy diet, proper sleep, and regular check-ups can have on preventing diabetes.
Need some more inspiration to get started? Read about ways to promote healthy aging in our Inspiring Stories, and check out just how Verve’s resident-centric support promotes health and wellbeing in our residents.