The term diabetes is also known as the “epidemic of the century”. Its development can be attributed to both genetic and environmental factors, and recent researches have given us deeper insights into this metabolic disease. Among the senior adults, 24 million people above age 65, have prediabetes while 27% of them eventually develop type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose) – an important source of fuel for your body. (National Diabetes Statistics Report | Data & Statistics | Diabetes | CDC, 2020)
High blood sugar is relatively common among many people, and oftentimes we tend to ignore the developing symptoms. People, especially seniors have a hard time sticking to a non-carbohydrate diet which is beneficial for diabetics. Living with diabetes may seem daunting and sticking to a particular medication routine can be exhausting. However, researchers have advanced a lot since the ‘90s; novel medicines and other lifestyle interventions have emerged as successful treatment options for diabetes.
So how does one go about helping a senior manage his high blood sugar?
Seniors are the dependents of our community, no doubt some of them still engage in robust physical activities, but you should know that with old age comes its own set of complications. For diabetic seniors, their blood sugar tends to fluctuate frequently therefore following are the ways in which you can learn about the management of this condition; (Diabetes Management: How Lifestyle, Daily Routine Affect Blood Sugar – Mayo Clinic, n.d.)
- Healthy diet plan:
Fluctuating blood sugars require a strict dietary plan to regulate it down to normal levels. Seniors are mostly recommended a non-carb diet with high fiber intake. Provide them three whole portions of regular meals at a fixed time, this helps the insulin be utilized more efficiently. Food items generally recommended are; healthy carbs like legumes, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Additionally, products rich in omega-3 (salmon), fruits, and vegetables constitute the main portion of their meal. You can assign a nutritionist for your elder who will outline a proper diet plan for each day. They can teach you about the right meal portions or how to determine the exact number of calories.
- Physical exercise:
Exercise is an important part of the routine. It helps them burn out the extra calories they may have consumed as well as maintain their overall muscular tone. Exercise improves blood flow and metabolism while a sedentary lifestyle creates more complications; it is an unhealthy choice. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends 3 to 4 hours of weekly exercise including brisk walking or a light jog.
- Weight loss:
If the senior is obese especially at the abdominal region then encourage them to lose weight through healthy habits. Avoid consuming weight reducing pills since this is impractical as a long-term option. Choose weight reducing exercises and improve your diet routine by limiting the number of carbohydrate intake. Alcohol abstinence must be encouraged
Form a routine by checking their random and fasting blood sugar levels every day. You can easily buy the device at a pharmacy store. Also accompany them for their Hb A1C test which should be done every 3 months in order to determine whether the current treatment plan is adequate.
Frequent pathogenic infections are a major risk factor among seniors, therefore, become acquainted with their vacation records. Seniors aged 65 years and above are required to get 2 doses of pneumonia vaccination and annual flu shots. Infections tend to increase blood sugar levels as part of the body’s normal physiological response. Since diabetics have a poor immune system, the infection will persist longer, and sugar levels will remain high.
Lastly, it should be noted that if your senior is taking insulin medications then its concentration and frequency must be closely monitored since, in certain circumstances, it can cause low blood sugar.
National Diabetes Statistics Report | Data & Statistics | Diabetes | CDC. (2020, May 5). https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/statistics-report.html
Diabetes management: How lifestyle, daily routine affect blood sugar—Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved May 7, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-management/art-20047963