Seniors With Diabetes

Seniors with diabetes have more challenges than younger people with diabetes. There are a number of issues that are often harder to diagnose and deal with for seniors. Many medical complications can be chalked up to old age. In the case of diabetes it is a silent mimic of other health complications causing it to be easily overlooked.

Because of aging, health is not as much of a factor for seniors as it is to a younger person. Everyone as they get older finds that ageing comes with its own set of medical issues. Seniors deal with heart problems, arthritis, poor vision, hearing loss and many other medical complications. As a person gets older diabetes becomes more of a threat that complicates already existing medical problems. Diagnoses of diabetes, when there are already pre-existing medical symptoms, becomes more difficult due to some health issues mimicking diabetes. It is easy to overlook heart problems or vision problems from diabetes when ageing itself presents these complications without diabetes as a person gets older. There is also the fact that older people may not realize or pay attention to the warning signs of oncoming diabetes because they confuse diabetes with ageing related medical problems. Fatigue and weakness concur with ageing just as they occur with diabetes. Eye sight that decreases with age can also be decreasing because of diabetes rather than age, and seniors can be confused or unaware that it may be diabetes that is causing the eye sight loss.

Being a senior with diabetes can be challenging enough as it is. With memory not being as keen, it is easy to forget your medications, or how many times a day blood sugars need to be checked. Seniors may mistake frequent urination and thirst for old age rather than the possibility of the onset of diabetes. When other medical complications arise often long term damage has occurred and this could have been avoided by simply testing for diabetes. Talking to your primary physician about getting tested every 6 months to a year would be a good preventative measure.

Symptoms of possible medical complications with onset of diabetes:

  1.   Vision becoming worse or blindness
  2.   Cardiovascular Disease – Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), Cardiomyopathy or Diabetes Heart Disease(DHD)
  3.   Lung functioning decrease – breathing problems, hardening of the lungs
  4.   Peripheral Vascular Disease – impaired circulatory function
  5.   Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)  – a dangerous condition due to high blood sugars
  6.   Feet related medical conditions – ulcers, gangrene or even amputation
  7.   Neuropathy –  nerve damage that can affect any given area of the body
  8.   Stroke
  9.   Kidney disease

These are just a few of the complications associated with diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition, but all of these conditions can be manageable with the proper care, diet, medication and exercise.

Talking to your doctor, getting family history, and taking preventative measures for the possible onset of diabetes increases your chance of a healthy senior life. Having diabetes is not the greatest thing, but it is a controllable condition that can be managed.

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