Diabetes is a disease that we’ve all known about for as far back as we can remember and have been affected by in one way or another. According to key findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that as many as 37.3 million Americans, approximately 1 in every 10 people, have diabetes. While this is cause for concern, it also means that the prevalence of this disease has led to it being well researched by scientists around the world. This means that information about the disease, such as methods of prevention and treatment options, is readily available and accessible.
As an older adult, you may be more susceptible to developing these and other illnesses or experiencing worsening symptoms of existing ailments if you fail to adequately care for your health. November is the month dedicated to raising awareness of diabetes and here at Falcons Landing, we’re committed to doing our part by educating residents and offering tips on how you can manage this condition as an older adult using the available resources on campus.
Before we jump to the tips, let’s start by first understanding the basics of the disease including the types, how it affects the body and the symptoms.
In its simplest form, the World Health Organization describes diabetes as a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Without insulin, the body is unable to properly regulate its blood glucose level. Therefore, when the foods we eat are broken down into glucose, that glucose will not be absorbed into our cells and remains in the bloodstream leading to consistently high blood sugar levels. That elevated level of blood sugar (blood glucose) is referred to as hyperglycemia.
As with any health condition or illness, it’s best to manage it as soon as possible. Uncontrolled diabetes can damage the nerves, blood vessels as well as organs including the heart, eyes, and kidneys leading to further health complications. In fact, diabetes is known to be a major cause of cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, stroke, and lower limb amputation.
The Types of Diabetes
Diabetes can be divided into two categories, type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes. Due to an autoimmune reaction, type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin. Those with this type of diabetes are therefore required to take daily doses of insulin to help regulate their blood glucose levels. Risk factors for type 1 diabetes include a family history of type 1 diabetes or having an existing condition that affects your immune system.
Type 2 diabetes is the more common of the two and occurs when the body is unable to effectively use the insulin it produces resulting in high blood sugar levels. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes are limited physical activity and excess weight. For these reasons, it is often referred to as a lifestyle disease. The good news is that by making small, healthy lifestyle changes, it is possible to prevent type 2 diabetes or effectively manage the condition without the use of medication.
In addition to the two types of diabetes mentioned above, there’s also the risk of pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetic is the term used to describe someone whose blood sugar levels are higher than the normal range but not high enough for them to be considered a type 2 diabetic.
The danger of pre-diabetes is that very often it doesn’t present with any symptoms which means that you may be unaware until it has already developed into diabetes. One of the best things you can do for your health is to regularly test your blood sugar levels to ensure that they’re within the normal range. Even if you find that it’s high, discovering it early will allow you to take the necessary action.
The Symptoms of Diabetes
Some may already be diagnosed with this condition. However, if you have doubts or experience any of the following symptoms then be sure to reach out to your doctor for a check-up:
Note that those with type 1 diabetes may also experience stomach pain, vomiting or nausea.
Healthier Options for Those Living with Diabetes
One of the major benefits of spending retirement in a LifePlan Community such as Falcons Landing is having convenient access to helpful resources that will help you proactively manage illnesses. When it comes to diabetes, best practices for prevention or management involve ensuring proper nutrition, an active lifestyle and overall wellness.
Here are four recommendations you can consider on campus to get on track to becoming a healthier you:
Experience fine dining and an array of healthy options without ever having to leave campus so you can stay committed to a healthy and balanced diet. There are dining choices like Woodburn Café, Compass Club, or theGrand Dining Room where you can enjoy the nutritional and social aspects that come with sharing a meal with family and friends.
It’s easy to move more! We have walking clubs that take full advantage of the local scenic trails, as well as state-of-the-art treadmills for those who prefer indoor activities. Our Fitness Center features several types of exercise equipment for aerobic or strength training.
An important part of caring for your body is also socializing and caring for your mental health. Since our residents have so much in common and share an adventurous spirit, so you’ll never be at a loss for interesting companionship or conversation. Join other residents for a cruise, a trip to local vineyards, or hop on our motor coach for a day in D.C. Prefer to spend your day closer to home? There are always activities and special events to enjoy right here on-campus.
Saying no to smoking
While the other tips recommend picking up a new habit, this one is all about dropping an existing habit which is smoking. Many studies cite smoking as a factor that increases your risk of developing diabetes. It may not be easy at first but taking small steps to kick this habit is sure to help you in the long run. Try mindful practices and stay busy with our full range of activities and clubs, while enjoying a smoke-free campus.
Live Healthy and Enjoy Retirement to the Fullest
We understand that caring for your physical health is just one aspect of living a full and healthy life. That’s why we’re happy that our abundant amenities and qualified staff on campus can help you to live the retirement you’ve always dreamed of. Join us at Falcons Landing to be part of a dynamic and tight-knit group that understands the value of community. Schedule a tour of our beautiful campus today!