Does Diabetes Get Worse as Seniors Age?

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More than 25 percent of adults aged 65 or older live with diabetes. Even more are likely living with the disorder undiagnosed and untreated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of developing diabetes rises until the age of 65. At that time, the level of prevalence is no different than in younger age groups. 

For many, the pancreas initially continues to produce insulin. Over time, physiological processes may occur that impair pancreatic function, and the organ no longer produces insulin. In this case, an elderly person with diabetes requires insulin. However, there are several other factors to consider regarding diabetes management in the senior years. 

Diabetes is a common disease among seniors, and it’s crucial to effectively manage its treatment and replace unhealthy habits with healthier ones as seniors age. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them attain this goal. Families can trust senior home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living longer and healthier lives.

Lifestyle Factors

When an older adult develops type 2 diabetes, the pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin or the cells become resistant and refuse to accept the available insulin. Diet, exercise, and prescription medication may correct the problem. For older adults, this is good news. The risk of developing the disease is most often attributed to being overweight and physically inactive, which often leads to insulin resistance and impaired pancreatic function. Other medical conditions older adults commonly develop, combined with diabetes, increase the risk of complications.

Statistics indicate that almost half of diabetics over the age of 60 who alter their lifestyles are able to normalize their blood sugar. However, if a senior gains weight or resumes an unhealthy lifestyle, his or her blood sugar will once again rise too high, which will require medical intervention. 

If your loved one lives alone, you may not be able to monitor his or her lifestyle habits closely, but a trained professional caregiver can do this and much more. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional at-home care. Frederick seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Complications Increase

Older adults often have high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and other cardiovascular disorders. The conditions may be exacerbated if blood sugar isn’t adequately controlled. Seniors with diabetes then become more susceptible to acute or chronic cardiac and vascular diseases.

Statistics indicate that older diabetics have a higher rate of mortality than non-diabetic seniors. Death may occur from a hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic crisis. Seniors aged 75 and older have double the risk of requiring emergency room care secondary to uncontrolled blood sugar that drops too low or rises too high. 

The risk of falling rises due to hypoglycemic episodes. Older women with diabetes are more likely to experience hip or humerus fractures. Falls may lead to hospitalization, the need for surgical intervention, and decreased mobility. Seniors with diabetes are also at higher risk for needing lower-extremity amputations secondary to compromised circulation, heart attacks, visual impairment, and end-stage renal failure. 

Vascular and other types of dementia also occur more frequently in seniors with diabetes. Statistics indicate that one third of adults older than 70 exhibit symptoms of dementia and have higher than normal blood sugar. Blood sugar may be affected by dementia or financial issues. An older adult may not eat the right foods as needed or be able to afford the necessary foods or prescribed medications, adding to complications. 

Even seniors who have serious health challenges such as diabetes can still live in safety and comfort at home with the help of trained professional caregivers. Frederick homecare professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Assisting Hands Home Care. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (301) 786-5045 today.