Helping Seniors Understand and Prevent Diabetes on American Diabetes Alert Day
On the last Tuesday of March every year, is March 26 this year, the American Diabetes Association Alert Day is held to encourage people to take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test and learn more about the risk of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, one in three Americans is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Fellowship Square takes a closer look at this disease, its risks and how seniors can prevent it.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to major health issues such as kidney disease, blindness and even result in the need for amputations. However, it is also a preventable disease, and, at the very least, its onset can be delayed with proper lifestyle choices.
While type 2 diabetes can be hereditary (people should check with family for medical history regarding this), it can also be a result of lifestyle habits including nutrition, weight, physical activity (or lack thereof), and sleep habits. This disease affects the way the body metabolizes sugar and in some cases the body either is resistance to insulin or it doesn’t produce enough to maintain glucose levels.
Either way, the body’s blood sugar needs to be maintained and/or stabilized through specific lifestyle habits (such as eating well and getting enough exercise and rest) as well as medication and/or insulin therapy. Type 2 diabetes, which has also been called adult-onset diabetes, can develop slowly, according to the Mayo Clinic and symptoms include:
• Increased thirst
• Frequent urination
• Increased hunger
• Unintended weight loss
• Slow-healing sores
• Frequent infections
• Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck
As with many diseases, type 2 diabetes can be prevented by eating the right foods and taking care of the body. The Mayo Clinic suggests a diet low in fat and calories and high in fiber, including lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It’s also suggested that between 30 and 60 minutes of moderate physical activity “on most days” of the week can keep type 2 diabetes at bay.
Weight does play a role, so for those that are overweight, a five to 10 percent loss of body weight can reduce the risk. Being sedentary is also a risk factor, which can impact many seniors. Mayo Clinic suggests breaking up long periods of sitting by standing, moving and or walking every 30 minutes. While medication and treatment are options, Mayo Clinic advises that the lifestyle habits list above are “essential for preventing and managing” type 2 diabetes. Fellowship Square encourages seniors and residents to check with their doctors or take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test available on the American Diabetes Association website.