Checking glucose levels. Injecting insulin. Carefully watching your diet. If this describes an average day in your life, or that of an older adult you love, you understand firsthand the obstacles that come with a diagnosis of diabetes. As November is Diabetes Awareness Month, the aging care team at Morning Glory Home Care is pleased to share the following information every diabetic – and every member of the family who cares for one – needs to know.
What Does It Mean to Have Diabetes?
Simply speaking, our bodies convert a number of the foods we eat into glucose, which supplies the energy we need – but only if our bodies make an adequate amount of the hormone insulin to break down the glucose for our cells to be able to access it. Diabetics’ bodies are either unable to make enough insulin (type 1 diabetes), or are unable to utilize the insulin correctly (type 2 diabetes), resulting in too much glucose in the blood.
Left untreated, diabetes may cause significant health problems, such as eye, kidney, and nerve issues, cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as a greater risk for Alzheimer’s or cancer.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
Many individuals with type 2 diabetes have such mild symptoms, or symptoms that come and go, that they don’t even realize there is a problem until the disease advances and symptoms intensify. Signs to watch out for include:
- Increased thirst and/or hunger
- Loss of weight
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
- Slower healing of cuts and bruises
- Skin infections
It’s essential to consult with a doctor if these symptoms become evident.
Can Diabetes Be Managed?
The good news is, once identified and effectively treated, and with adherence to changes in lifestyle, diabetes can be managed and controlled. For some people, changes to exercise and diet are sufficient, while other individuals will need medication and/or insulin injections.
Your doctor will put together a diabetes management plan to follow, which could include:
- When and how to track sugar levels
- Which foods to eat and which to avoid
- Exercises and physical activities
- A medication regimen
Tips to optimize health while managing diabetes include:
- Manage your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and have them checked on a consistent basis.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Get annual pneumonia and flu vaccines, as well as annual eye and kidney exams.
- Check the feet on a daily basis to look for red patches, sores, calluses, blisters, as well as other skin irregularities, and see a podiatrist with any concerns.
- Keep skin protected, clean, and moisturized.
- Ask your physician for guidelines on cancer screenings, and for help with any other physical, emotional, or mental health concerns being experienced.
Morning Glory Home Care, a provider of home health services in Belleville, IL, can help those diagnosed with diabetes in a variety of ways, including transportation to medical appointments and procedures, meal planning and preparation in accordance with dietary restrictions, medication reminders, and so much more. Email or call us at 618-667-8400 for a free in-home consultation for more information on our professional home health services in Belleville, IL and the surrounding areas.