6 Ways to Treat Diabetes in Seniors

Apr 13, 2016

6 Ways to Treat Diabetes in Seniors

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Living with diabetes is tough, and the risk of developing the disease increases with age, especially if you have other preexisting conditions. Diabetes management can be overwhelming, especially right after a diagnosis, but when taken one day at a time, diabetes is rather manageable.

When a loved one is diagnosed with diabetes, there are tons of questions that may be lingering, and it’s easy to feel confused or unsure of where life will go from there. Fortunately, with some understanding of diabetes and the right resources, the symptoms can be managed and a loved one can continue leading a full and fulfilling life.

Over 25 percent of adults ages 65 and older have diabetes. In addition 1 in 3 of U.S. adults have a form of undiagnosed diabetes. Older adults with diabetes have a higher rate of major lower-extremity amputation, visual impairment, myocardial infection, and kidney failure.

6 Ways to Treat Diabetes in Seniors

1. Lifestyle Changes

Eating healthy and participating in regular physical activity will help you manage your diabetes. You will want your diet to focus on fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and animal products, refined carbohydrates, and refined sugars. A dietician should help you create a meal plan that will help you manage your diabetes.

Physical activity helps to lower your blood sugar and maintain a healthy weight. Once you get your doctor's okay, get active! Try biking, swimming, dancing, or any other aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes a day several days a week.

2. Monitor your Blood Sugar 

How often you monitor or record your blood sugar really depends on your treatment plan. You many need to check several times a day or a few times per week. If insulin therapy is part of your treatment, you will want to monitor your blood with a continuous glucose monitor.

3. Insulin Therapy

Many people, whether they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, need insulin to manage their condition. There are many different insulin options that you will want to discuss with your doctor. Insulin is typically injected using a small needle. An insulin pump may also be an option to you.

4. Oral or Injected Medications

There may be other medications that you will need to take to supplement your diabetes treatment plan. Depending on what your body needs, you will want to discuss other medication options with your doctor.

5. Pancreas Transplant

For those with type 1 diabetes, it may be necessary to have a pancreas transplant. If the transplant is a success, you'll no longer need insulin therapy, however, there are also many risks to this surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks associated with the procedure if you are interested in this type of treatment.

6. Gastric Bypass

For those with type 2 diabetes with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 35, bariatric surgery may help them see improvements in their blood sugar levels. However, there are risks associated with this procedure and the long-term benefits are not yet known.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a way to receive financial assistance for diabetes patients?

Yes, there is! Medicare can help those with diabetes pay for certain supplies and services through the Medicare Part B plan. Although a doctor’s prescription is needed, assistance can come through: 

  • Blood Glucose monitors and supplies
  • A1C tests
  • Eye examinations to check for related eye diseases
  • Flu shots
  • Diabetes management training
  • Nutrition services

 

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How does diabetes affect teeth and gums?

Untreated, diabetes can affect teeth and gum health poorly. With higher blood glucose levels, your saliva is much more prone to hosting harmful bacteria that can cause plaque, leading to tooth decay or cavities if left unchecked. Learning all you can about diabetes treatment options can go a long way!

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