Diabetes Awareness

Diabetes Awareness

November Is National Diabetes Awareness Month

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.  Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body doesn’t use insulin properly.

More than one in every 10 adults who are 20 years or older has diabetes. For seniors (65 years and older), that figure rises to more than one in four.

It is estimated that 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, but 8.1 million may be undiagnosed and unaware of their condition.

What Are The Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes?

The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss – even-though you are eating (Type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet (Type 2)

Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes.  If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms you should consult with your healthcare provider.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes

Many people with type 2 diabetes can manage their blood glucose levels with diet and exercise alone. Others may need diabetes pills or insulin injections, along with medicines to manage other conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Over time, a person with diabetes may need both lifestyle changes and medication.

Once you’ve been told you have diabetes, a healthcare team will work with you to create a diabetes management plan. Your plan will be based on your lifestyle, preferences, health goals, and other health conditions you have.

As part of your plan, your doctor may prescribe one or more medications. Other healthcare professionals may also be involved. For example, a diabetes educator may help you understand diabetes and provide support as you make lifestyle changes to manage your diabetes. A dietitian may help with meal planning. An exercise coach may help you become more physically active.

If you have diabetes, your doctor may screen you for depression or cognitive impairment. Older adults with diabetes are at higher risk for these conditions, compared with others their age who do not have diabetes. Having depression or cognitive impairment can make diabetes self-care challenging.

Your Diabetes Management Plan Will Cover How To:

  • Track your glucose levels. Very high glucose levels (called hyperglycemia) or very low glucose levels (called hypoglycemia) can be risky to your health. Your plan will show how often you should check your glucose and how often to get the A1C test. If you are managing your diabetes without taking insulin, you may not need to check your glucose as often.
  • Make healthy food choices. The food you eat affects glucose levels, so it’s important to learn what’s best for you to eat, how much, and when. If you are overweight, work with your healthcare team to come up with a plan to lose weight.
  • Be active. Walking and other forms of daily exercise can help improve glucose levels in older people with diabetes. Set a goal to be more active most days of the week, and create a plan for being physically active that fits into your life and that you can follow. Your healthcare team can help.
  • Take your medicines. You should take medicine as prescribed even when you feel good. Tell your doctor if you have any side effects or cannot afford your medicines. Also, let your doctor know if you have trouble taking your medicine or keeping track of your medication schedule.

At least once a year, your healthcare team will assess how well you are managing your diabetes. Your management plan might need changes, or you may need more information and support. A change in health, such as a new diagnosis or complication, or a change in care, such as going home from the hospital, may also lead to changes to your diabetes management plan.