Those in ACT II of their lives are more prone to diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes in older adults can lead to complications. In addition to increased manageability concerns, the disease often presents numerous health problems for older adults. Below are a few things older adults with diabetes should keep in mind.
Adults over the age of 40 living with diabetes have an increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, the result of damage to blood vessels in the retina that leads to vision loss. The problem may worsen if blood glucose levels are not well managed.
Visit your doctor immediately if you experience visual disturbances, eye pain, difficulty reading or any other abnormality that interferes with your vision. Even if you don’t experience these symptoms, you should have your eyes examined annually.
The risk of gum disease increases as you age, but the risk increases even more if you have diabetes. People with diabetes are more susceptible to infection, so periodontal disease is actually a common side effect of diabetes.
Periodontal disease can actually increase blood sugar, which means that having gum disease also increases the risk of diabetic complications. Make regular dentist appointments, and practice daily dental hygiene, including brushing your teeth, flossing, mouthwash and whatever else your dentist or periodontist suggests.
Older adults usually become less active as it becomes increasingly difficult to maneuver. Those with diabetes who experience aches and pains may maintain a less active lifestyle. This is almost always a mistake.
It is important to remain active, even if you don’t leave your home. Exercise while you watch TV, or take short walks, several times a day. The benefits of staying active are monumental, especially for someone with diabetes.
Staying active increases your energy level and reduces your risk of heart attack. Plus, it improves your body’s ability to use its own insulin. People with diabetes who live active lifestyles have a much easier time controlling their insulin levels.
Managing Diabetes During the Holidays
The holidays can be especially tough for diabetics since so many sweet treats and indulgent foods available. Fortunately, there are a few easy tips you can follow to stay healthy while still enjoying the celebrations.
- Eat a healthy breakfast on the morning of a holiday. If you arrive at the party hungry, you might end up overeating.
- Only drink wine in moderation, if at all.
- When it comes to turkey, choose the white meat over the dark meat.
- If the host has provided snacks before dinner, go for the veggies instead of the cheese and crackers.
- Choose desserts with less sugar (so avoid the pecan pie, which contains more sugar than nuts).
- Take a walk after dinner. You can even invite your family or friends and make it a tradition.
Diabetes and Aging
Diabetes can get complicated in ACT II, but as long as you stay active and stick to a healthy diet, you should be able to manage whatever comes your way. You can still enjoy the holiday season while eating responsibly. And don’t forget to have fun.