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7 Reasons Diabetes Develops in the Senior Years

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The likelihood of developing diabetes has been shown to increase in seniors over the age of 70. According to statistics, approximately 22 percent of Canadians between the ages of 75 and 79 have been diagnosed and treated for the disorder. There are a variety of reasons diabetes is more prevalent in older adults.

1. Inactivity

A lack of physical activity diminishes the ability of the cardiovascular system to function at optimal levels. When the pancreas and other organs don’t receive sufficient oxygen and nutrient-rich blood, they cannot function properly. As blood sugar rises, the pancreas cannot respond adequately and the kidneys cannot eliminate the excess from the body. 

Getting regular exercise can make it easier to stay healthy and age in place independently. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Vancouver, BC, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

2. Obesity

A lack of sufficient physical activity without a change in dietary habits leads to obesity. Diabetes has been determined to develop more frequently in older adults carrying excess weight around their waistline. An excess of food leads to high blood sugar. With a malfunctioning pancreas, the endocrine system cannot make the insulin needed to fuel the cells, and the kidneys cannot eliminate the excess.

3. Insulin Resistance

This problem occurs when cells throughout the body cannot process insulin. Some of the insulin may enter the cells, but much of the substances become waste product that’s eliminated from the body. The pancreas then manufactures more insulin in an attempt to normalize blood sugar. However, the pancreas cannot keep up with the increasing demand and, over time, production decreases.

4. Genetics

The ABCC8 and TCF7L2 genes, among others, have been linked with diabetes. The genes either interfere with insulin production and secretion or overproduce glucose. The CAPN10 gene has been associated with diabetes in the Hispanic population. Genetic mutations that occur for unknown reasons may also contribute to the development of the disorder.

5. Family History

The genes that contribute to diabetes development may be passed down from one generation to the next. In addition to receiving suspect genes, older adults may also inherit traits that lead to obesity, overeating, inactivity and insulin resistance. The greater the number of people in a family who have diabetes, the greater the chance an older adult in the family will develop the disease. 

Since you’re part of your loved one’s family and may have an increased risk of diabetes, you should also take steps to maintain your health. Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Vancouver families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation.

6. Ethnic Background

Certain ethnicities are more prone to diabetes than others. Researchers haven’t learned the reason for the anomaly, but they’ve determined that people with certain ethnic backgrounds are at a higher risk. People with a greater risk include:

• African Americans
• Asians
• Hispanics
• Indigenous Alaskans
• Indigenous Hawaiians
• Native Americans
• Pacific Islanders

7. Medications

A variety of medications commonly prescribed for older adults cause increased blood sugar. Statin medications used to reduce LDL cholesterol are known to raise blood sugar levels. Older adults diagnosed as having prediabetes have a 30 percent chance of progressing to type 2 diabetes when routinely taking the medications. The B vitamin known as niacin has the same effect.

If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a senior care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. To learn more about our high-quality at-home care for older adults, call (778) 279-3634 today.