Diabetes is a complex disease to manage. There is the need to monitor food intake, take regular blood sugar tests, get plenty of exercise, and for some, manage medication; all of which can prove challenging — especially for newly diagnosed seniors.
Even though this disease presents many challenges, it doesn’t mean it can’t be managed. With a little education and understanding, most of the challenges associated with Type 2 diabetes can be overcome.
Wondering what types of challenges you might face? Here is a look at some of the more common issues seniors face when trying to control their Type 2 diabetes.
The Struggle to Get Diagnosed with the Disease
Diagnosing Type 2 diabetes is not difficult; all it takes is a blood or urine test to determine glucose levels to make a proper diagnosis. Unfortunately, the disease goes undetected and undiagnosed in many seniors.
The reason this disease is so difficult to diagnose is because its symptoms are very similar to other disorders and diseases. The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, which include extreme fatigue, excessive thirst, blurry vision and increased urination, can easily be associated with other health problems.
Assuming symptoms of Type 2 diabetes are being caused by other illnesses can result in a delayed diagnosis. This is because you, and possibly your health care team, are focused upon looking for other causes of the symptoms, which leaves Type 2 diabetes overlooked and undiagnosed.
Finding the Right Type of Exercise Program
Health care experts recommend that individuals with Type 2 diabetes get a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise — daily. This will help manage and control the disease. Unfortunately, many seniors are unable to find an exercise program that fits their abilities and lifestyle.
When someone says exercise, people might assume that means running or going through intense cardio workouts. These types of exercises can be difficult for seniors to engage in. Luckily, there are many low- to moderate-impact exercise programs that can help seniors exercise consistently.
Low to moderate exercise programs that are popular with seniors include:
- Yoga — both traditional and chair yoga
- Silver Sneaker programs — exercise programs hosted at senior centers, gyms and YMCAs that are designed for individuals 55 and older
Adjusting to Dietary Restrictions
In addition to exercising more, individuals diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes will need to make dramatic changes to their diet. Making these changes can be difficult, especially if you are unsure what to needs to be done. Luckily, there is help available.
Many local communities or hospitals often host regular diabetes management classes that can help you adjust to life as a Type 2 diabetic. These classes will teach you proper cooking techniques, how to check food labels, and even how to determine what foods may or may not be the best to consume once you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
If you are still finding it difficult to adjust to the dietary restrictions that come with Type 2 diabetes, you may want to consider scheduling a few visits with a registered dietitian. Dietitians can work with you one on one to help you adjust to life as a Type 2 diabetic. These individuals can help make suggestions for foods to try, plan menus and teach you how to make healthy food choices that will help you control your Type 2 diabetes.
Incorporating Regular Blood Glucose Testing into Your Day-To-Day Life
Type 2 diabetics are often told they need to check their blood glucose levels at least twice a day — typically when they wake up and right before dinner. Checking these levels helps diabetics manage their diabetes by determining if their levels are within a normal range.
Adjusting to the need to take regular blood glucose tests can be difficult for many seniors. It is not a habit they are used to doing and they can easily forget. Luckily, there are steps you can take to make sure you remember to test your blood glucose levels:
- Placing the meter in a visible place
- Using a meter that comes with an app that will remind you to take your blood glucose test
- Trying to eat and wake up on a set schedule, as this helps with remembering to take the test
Type 2 diabetes does come with challenges, but that doesn’t mean you can’t control it. With the proper knowledge, you will be able to easily overcome the challenges associated with this disease and be able to live a happy and healthy life.
Thomas Boston is both a diabetic and the founder of Cash Now Offer. Thomas is focused on giving back to the diabetic community by helping to provide test strips to those who may not be able to afford them.