Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects people of all ages across the globe. According to the CCDSS, there are currently an estimated 2.4 million Canadians diagnosed, which is 6.8% of the country’s population. One age group that is hit particularly hard are the elderly.
Elders Diagnosed in Canada
How bad is it? According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, out of the 2.4 million cases, 1.9 million of those are people over the age of 50. The very highest numbers were those for people age 75 to 79, with a whopping 23.1% of women and 28.5% of men having been diagnosed with this disorder. The older a person gets the higher their risk of developing the disorder.
What is Diabetes?
There are multiple types of this disorder, but they all involve how the body uses blood glucose, commonly called blood sugar. Glucose is the main energy supply for your body, muscles, and brain. Having too much of this is bad for your body and leads to a long list of other health conditions and concerns.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst, extreme hunger, weight loss, tiredness, blurred vision, high blood pressure, and slow healing sores. A doctor will test for ketones in urine and blood glucose levels. He or she will also try to rule out other causes for symptoms.
Why Treatment is Critical
This serious disorder can lead to an assortment of other conditions and injuries such as blindness, amputations, skin conditions, a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s, kidney damage, nerve damage, heart disease, and cancer. If your loved one has diabetes, or you suspect that they may, make sure you have them tested and that they follow their doctor’s treatment instructions. Treatment can be as simple as a daily pill for some people, while others may require glucose monitoring throughout the day and insulin injections.
There are many things a person can do to reduce their risk of developing diabetes, and to reduce the risk for their loved ones and elders. One of the most important things is to eat a healthy and balanced diet and get regular exercise. Try to serve balanced meals and get everyone off the couch. Go for a walks, sign the kiddos up for sports, and get your senior citizen involved in activity suitable for their health and fitness level.
Resources for Elders and Their Caregivers
Hearing a diagnosis of this disorder can be scary and overwhelming. One thing to keep in mind is that because so many people are living with Diabetes there are numerous resources available and many people who know what you and your family are going through. One great website to start with is the Canadian Diabetes Association. They have more information on the disorder, the latest news, diabetic friendly recipes, meet-ups and events, programs for each age group, and an online community filled with support for those who need it.
Has your loved one or elder been diagnosed with this disorder? Is there a great resource you use that could help others? Please leave a comment and share! We LOVE comments!