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Promoting Diabetes Awareness in November

November 26, 2019

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and we’d like to share helpful tips and information about one of the most common conditions experienced by older adults. You might be surprised to learn that of all age groups, seniors are the most likely to develop diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 25% of adults over the age of 65 are living with diabetes in the United States. If you or a loved one has diabetes, continue reading to learn how you can manage it and live a healthier lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that develops when a person’s blood sugar level, also known as blood glucose, is too high. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body process glucose from the food you eat for energy, or will store it for future use. If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use it effectively, glucose doesn’t get distributed in your body and can cause health issues, including diabetes.

Types of Diabetes

There are several forms of diabetes. The most common types are prediabetes, gestational, type 1 and type 2.

  1. Prediabetes – People with prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2. According to the CDC, about 84 million American adults – more than 1 out of 3 – have prediabetes. Of those who have it, 90% are unaware.
  2. Gestational – Gestational diabetes can develop in women during pregnancy. Every year, 2% to 10% of pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes. Occurrences of gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born. However, about 50% of women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes.
  3. Type 1 – People with type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age.
  4. Type 2 – People with type 2 diabetes cannot produce or process insulin well. This is the most common type of diabetes and is most often found in middle-aged and older adults.

Treating and Managing Diabetes

Unfortunately, there is no cure for diabetes. That said, there are several viable treatment options. Usually, type 1 is managed with dietary changes and insulin injections. Type 2 is treated with insulin, other medications, exercise and healthy lifestyle changes such as a low-calorie diet and weight loss.

While diabetes is not always preventable, there are several changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing diabetes or prevent it from getting worse if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes:

  • Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise daily. Regular exercise is fundamental for keeping seniors active and healthy.
  • Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet full of nutritious foods. Cut sugar and refined carbs from your diet.
  • Stay hydrated. Try to stay away from soda and juice to avoid additional sugar.
  • Find ways to relieve stress. Did you know that stress and anxiety can actually increase your blood sugar? Maintaining healthy social connections plays a key role in reducing stress.
  • Practice portion control at each meal and try to lose weight if you’re overweight.

If you or someone you know is dealing with diabetes, do your part to spread awareness to help prevent future cases from arising. Make a pledge this November to adopt healthy habits and encourage your loved ones to do the same.

Healthy Aging at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities

Since 2012, Episcopal SeniorLife Communities has offered Neighborhood Programs to seniors who live in the community to promote health and wellness. Three key elements that support healthy aging are exercise, fun and friendship. These programs provide nutrition education, informative presentations and best of all, the opportunity to connect with others.

Additionally, moving to a senior living community is a great way to ensure you have access to everything you need to stay happy and healthy as you age. At ESLC, services and amenities are designed with seniors in mind. Contact us today to learn more about our living options for seniors.

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