Type 2 diabetes used to be referred to as “age-onset diabetes.” Now it is associated with some of the same risk factors for metabolic syndrome and can strike at any age. Vancouver, BC, 24-hour care professionals discuss 4 of the biggest risks for acquiring type 2 diabetes in the senior years.
1. Weight Gain
Gaining excess weight is the primary risk for diabetes. Increased weight leads to insulin resistance, which occurs when a person’s insulin becomes less effective at controlling blood glucose levels. A 5 percent reduction in body weight (e.g. 9 pounds for a 180 pound person) can reverse escalating fasting blood glucose levels.
2. Sedentary Living
The second most influential factor for developing metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes is living a sedentary lifestyle. Retirement age should include replacing work activity with leisure activities, which can include walking, golfing, swimming, gardening, and other activities that keep seniors at the same activity levels they had while working. Active lifestyles help maintain muscle mass and involve glucose burning activities that can stave off type 2 diabetes.
3. A Sweet Tooth
Taste buds change over time. Parents have difficulty getting children to appreciate the taste of broccoli and other vegetables, while seniors begin seeking tastes that are stronger and sweeter. As people age, the taste buds enjoy the richness of fatty foods and sugar more and more, which is why ice cream is so popular among seniors. Dessert menus look better and better to seniors, but the calories add weight, and insulin resistance is not far behind. Caloric intake must be balanced with physical activity to prevent weight gain at any age.
All medications can have side effects, and elevated blood glucose is a side effect of some common medications for seniors. Some steroids and medications used to treat cardiovascular conditions may elevate blood glucose to the point that glucose-lowering medications may be needed. Alternative medications may be available if a sudden increase in blood glucose levels is noticed after a new prescription is started.
Seniors with diabetes are often able to enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of a professional caregiver. At Home Care Assistance, our respite and live-in caregivers can provide medication reminders, prepare healthy meals, encourage and assist with exercise, and help with many other tasks. For more information on the elder care Vancouver, BC, families count on, call one of our experienced Case Managers at 778-279-3634 today.