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Practical Tips for Elderly Diabetics

Management of diabetes is different for everyone most especially for the elderly. However, being old is not an excuse to not participate actively in taking control of your diabetes. The Joslin Diabetes Center in the United States estimates that one out of every five people over the age of 60 has diabetes. The elderly are also more prone to complications of the disease. To avoid complications and to live your life fully even with diabetes, we offer tips on how to keep track of and control diabetes, even at the prime of your life.

DOs:

Watch of your blood sugar closely. Diabetics need to keep their blood glucose level as normal as possible to prevent complications. However, elderly diabetics are more prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). To prevent hypoglycemia, regularly monitor your blood sugar level and stick to your physician’s advice. Avoid excess alcohol and take your medications as prescribed. Inform your doctor if blood sugars are consistently below or above specified targets; and if you are feeling unwell and unable to eat as this can make you prone to hypoglycemia.

Be a fiber lover. Eat more vegetables, whole grains and fruits which are healthy and contain almost no fat and little calories.As always, moderation is the key. Seek the advice of a nutritionist or dietitian when it comes to creating a balanced meal plan for you.

Be a keen observer. Watch out for foot blisters, vision problems, kidney irregularities, tooth loss and other health problems that may be signs of diabetes complications. It is important to have your feet, eyes, kidney and teeth checked regularly to ensure that you are safe and free from diabetes complications.

Check your medication. As an elderly diabetic, you must closely monitor your anti-diabetes and other medications, especially for side effects. Drug interactions are a major problem for anyone on multiple medicines.Ask someone to help you monitor your medication intake to reduce the risk of taking the wrong dose. Pill boxes, post-it notes, electronic alarm devices and other tools may be used to remind you to take your medications regularly.

Be on the move. Regular physical activity when able is important to keep diabetes under control and your circulation flowing. Ask your doctor for an exercise program suitable for your age and condition. Exercise can lower your blood sugar, so medication dosage may need to be adjusted.

DONTs:

Splurge on sugar and fats. Be careful not to eat food with too much sugar and fats. Too much consumption of these affects your blood sugar control greatly.

Be stressed-out. High levels of stress can cause hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).Take on a hobby to keep your mind off stressful thoughts and situations.Whenever you feel uptight, take a break to relax, breathe deeply and gently stretch any tense areas. And call a friend when you feel down in the dumps.

Smoke. There are old diabetics who haven’t quit cigarettes. If you are one of them, this could mean long-term circulatory problems and other complications. Ask aid from friends and family to help you quit. Your physician may also opt to prescribe you medication for smoking-cessation.

Skip meals. Poor and erratic food intake makes one prone to hypoglycemia. Don’t ignore signs of low blood sugar such as cold sweats, palpitations, hunger, trembling, weakness, nervousness and trouble speaking. Take a quickfix food like half a cup of juice or regular softdrinks or 2 teaspoons of sugar to get your blood sugar above 70 mg/dL. If it will be an hour or more before your next meal, have a snack.

The goal of every diabetic is to achieve the best control possible without episodes of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. You may feel overwhelmed at times, so support from your family and friends is vital to help conquer it all.

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