Many people use insulin to help control diabetes. However, did you know that as people age, they may need changes in their diabetes treatment? In fact, some recent studies suggest that many seniors are being overtreated for diabetes and should be reevaluated for a possible reduction in medication.
Diabetes Treatment and Age Studies
Current medical guidelines suggest that older adults, especially those who are especially ill, may benefit from stepping back their diabetes treatment. However, in one study, researchers found that about 20 percent of seniors over the age of 75 were still using insulin to treat type 2 diabetes. And, almost 30 percent of older adults over 75 with type 2 diabetes who were also in poor health were still using insulin.
In another study, researchers found that even when the doctor suggests treatment changes, seniors may not comply. They found that about 60 percent of people who responded to a survey disagreed with the guidelines suggesting seniors reduce diabetes treatment as they get older. The researchers suggest that older adults may fear changing their treatment because they don’t understand why the doctor is making the changes.
The problem with overtreating diabetes is that it can lead to a dangerous complication called hypoglycemia, which happens when blood sugar drops too low. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shaking, sweating, dizziness, and confusion. It can also cause an irregular heartbeat and the older adult could faint.
Lifestyle Changes for Controlling Diabetes
If your aging relative’s doctor has suggested they reduce their diabetes medications and your loved one is worried about the change, they could take other steps to control diabetes that do not involve medicine, such as these lifestyle changes:
• Eat Healthier: While the senior may already be eating a fairly healthy diet, when medications are changed, it may be a good time to take a look at where improvements might be made. Make an appointment with a dietician to review the senior’s diet and find out what kinds of changes might help.
• Increase Physical Activity: If the older adult isn’t currently meeting the suggested guidelines of 30 minutes of exercise on at least 5 days of the week, increasing their physical activity will help to keep blood sugar under control.
• Keep Doctor Appointments: When treatment is changed, the doctor may need to see the older adult more frequently for a while to make sure the changes are working.
• Keep Stress to a Minimum: Stress causes blood sugar levels to increase.
Senior care can help older adults to make changes to their lifestyle to enhance changes in treatment. A senior care provider can follow the dietician’s guidelines for healthy meals to prepare foods that will help with blood sugar control. Senior care providers can also drive older adults to their medical appointments to ensure they are able to attend checkups. In addition, having a senior care provider to help and check on them regularly can reduce an older adult’s stress levels.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care in Monroe, NC, please call the professional staff at Caring at Heart today at (704) 379-7510. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail.
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