Diabetes is a condition that doesn’t target specific groups. It’s a growing health concern globally, and diabetes among seniors is no exception. Based on numbers from 2015 by the CDC, over 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with a form of diabetes, and about 12 million are above the age of 65.
Those numbers may seem staggering, but it’s also a condition that is manageable with the right lifestyle and care. Silver Comet Village would like to take a moment to explain diabetes in seniors, and steps that can be taken to manage it properly.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when a person’s blood sugar is too high. Blood sugar, or blood glucose, is gained based on what a person eats or drinks. For example, a glass of water isn’t going to increase blood sugar levels; but a can of soda or a glass of sweet tea would.
Insulin from the pancreas assists in the breakdown of anything the body ingests to convert glucose into energy the body can use. But, as they say, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Having elevated blood sugar levels for extended periods of time can cause major health problems from heart disease to kidney problems. However, these are in the most extreme cases of the condition and its variants.
- Type 1 Diabetes – The more severe form of the disease, Type 1 Diabetes means that the body cannot create insulin. Type 1 Diabetes is often found early on in life, and those diagnosed need to take shots of insulin daily.
- Type 2 Diabetes – The more common form, Type 2 Diabetes means that while the body can create insulin, it doesn’t make it well or utilize it well. Type 2 Diabetes can occur at any age but occurs most often in those 45 years old or older.
While these are the two most common forms of diabetes, there are several other types seen in different circumstances.
Managing Diabetes for a Senior
No matter what form of diabetes the senior in your life may have, their lifestyle may have to change for them to live at their healthiest. The right types of food and a moderate amount of physical activity make all the difference. Here are two lists of what to avoid, and what to embrace in your daily diet.
Limit or Avoid
- Cholesterol intake to 200mg per day or less
- Saturated fats and trans fats
- Salt; be very careful with heavily processed foods, they often contain salt as a preservative
- Sugary drinks and/or snacks
- Fiber-rich fruits, and vegetables
- Dark green vegetables and orange vegetables, as suggested by the CDC
- Avocados, nuts, and olives in small doses
- Whole-grain carbohydrates
- Low-fat dairy products
- Lean proteins; fish and chicken are safe standbys, but indulging in lean cuts of red meat can be fine as well
While this is just a brief outline, the American Diabetes Association has provided an in-depth guide to foods that will help manage diabetes better.
We hope that this has been a helpful resource in understanding and managing diabetes. At Silver Comet Village, our assortment of daily activities and our nutritional meal plans can help the senior in your life maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’re interested in learning more about healthy aging or senior living, we encourage you to visit our Silver Comet Village blog.