Fall brings us many reasons to be grateful and celebrate, but November 14 gives us something important to think about—it’s World Diabetes Day. While it’s no cause for celebration, we’re raising awareness. The CDC reports that around one person in 10 has type 2 diabetes, and it’s among the top 10 common causes of death in the United States. Because diabetes is devastating to so many, we’d like to talk about prevention.
What is Diabetes?
The Centers for Disease Control explains that diabetes is a long-term condition that impacts the way your body uses food and turns it into energy. When we eat, our bodies turn most of the food into glucose, which signals the pancreas to release insulin once in the bloodstream. Insulin helps blood sugar inside our cells to be used for energy. When someone has diabetes, they either don’t produce insulin, or the insulin produced is not utilized appropriately.
There are three types of diabetes, and according to the American Diabetes Association, for individuals ages 65 and up, type 2 is the most common. Type 2 diabetes is more of a hindrance than just checking your blood sugars and taking medications. It can create serious problems, like heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, blindness, hearing loss, and amputations. Another severe complication reported by the National Institutes of Health is dementia. They reported that having type 2 diabetes increases one’s risk of developing dementia by 60%! There are ways to adjust your lifestyle to try to decrease your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
1. See your doctor
Visit your doctor and medical professionals as often as you should, and take notes. If you struggle with remembering information at doctors’ appointments like many of us do, take someone you trust along to help.
Be honest with your healthcare team about your symptoms and habits, and which medications you take, or might occasionally forget. This will help them point you in a better direction in terms of diet and exercise.
2. You are what you eat
No one’s diet is perfect, but starting small—and at all—is what it’s all about. Slowly reduce the foods that you know are not good for you. Consider eating more whole grains, fresh fruits, and veggies, and reduce or eliminate processed foods and those high in sugar and starch. Healthier diets also play a key role in reducing the risk of developing dementia.
3. Get movin’
Going from the couch to running a marathon is not required, but it’s very possible to start small with exercise, too. Little by little, increase your activity level according to what your doctor recommends. You could experience more energy during the day, and perhaps you’ll feel like moving more tomorrow.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step.
4. Drop some lbs.
If your doctor recommends it, consider losing some weight. Read steps 2-3 again; diet and exercise are the keys to the castle here! The healthier your diet, the more active you may feel, and vice-versa too. Just think about how you feel after eating a donut versus eating an orange… many of us might choose the couch after enjoying a donut or two.
Aging well with diabetes
Managing diabetes or multiple health conditions alone as we age can seem very dismal, but a continuum of care can offer hope. In our Edgewood communities, we offer each resident the opportunity to enjoy healthy foods, exercise, socialization, personal care, and healthcare, all under the same roof they call home.
While moving to assisted living or a memory care community is a big step, we also offer alternative solutions for those who need help, such as adult day services, which are available within most of our memory care communities, and short-term stays. Sometimes a short-term stay can help someone get their health back on track so they can move back to their home—anything can happen when we’re healthy and independent!
If you’re interested in senior living options, or you have questions about diabetes management or dementia care at Edgewood, please reach out today at firstname.lastname@example.org.