How To Work On Balance Issues:
Diabetes In Older People
Diabetes is a serious disease, and it affects many older adults. People get diabetes when their blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. The good news is that you can take steps to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease to develop in older adults. If you already have diabetes, there are steps you can take to manage the condition and prevent diabetes-related health problems.
Financial Support And Benefits
Some people with diabetes may be eligible to receive disability benefits and incapacity benefits, depending on the impact the condition has on their life.
The main groups likely to qualify for welfare benefits are children, elderly people, people with learning disabilities or mental health problems, and those with complications of diabetes.
People over 65 who are severely disabled, may qualify for a type of disability benefit called Attendance Allowance.
Carers may also be entitled to some benefit too, depending on their involvement in caring for the person with diabetes.
Staff at your local Citizens Advice Bureau can check whether you’re getting all of the benefits you’re entitled to. Both they and your diabetes specialist nurse should also be able to give you advice about filling in the forms.
Read Also: Why Does Blood Sugar Go Up At Night
Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include feeling tired, increased hunger or thirst, losing weight without trying, urinating often, or having trouble with blurred vision. You may also get skin infections or heal slowly from cuts and bruises. Some people with type 2 diabetes may not realize they have it because symptoms often develop slowly and go unnoticed. Sometimes older adults dismiss these symptoms as getting old, but they can be signs of a serious problem. Talk with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
Blurred Vision Is One Of The Early Signs Of Diabetes
Distorted or blurred vision, as well as commonly seeing eye floaters is a common symptom of diabetes.
Fortunately its largely a reversible problem once the high blood sugar levels are corrected.
Why does this happen?: Excess glucose in the blood pulls fluids out of your cells and tissue. This includes the lens of your eye, which can swell and alter its ability to focus.
Also Check: Normal A1c For Elderly
Why Is Diabetes Fatigue So Common
Fatigue can be caused by something physical, emotional distress, or because of lifestyle choices. Previously in this article, a number of things related to diabetes that cause fatigue was listed. If you read over that list, you can find physical, emotional, and lifestyle choices in there. This means that individuals with diabetes are at a risk from developing fatigue because of many different reasons.
An example is someone with diabetes that eats a very healthy diet and exercises daily. If they are too stressed because of the struggle to control their blood sugar, they could develop fatigue. Another example is someone that is very calm and follows their insulin and diet plan perfectly, but they have restless leg syndrome because of the nerve damage caused by diabetes.
Having physical, emotional, and lifestyle risk factors makes it very difficult for people with diabetes to avoid fatigue. Many people experience multiple problems that cause fatigue, such as sleep apnea and anxiety. Dealing with both of these makes it even harder to overcome the fatigue. This is why it is the most common symptom of diabetes.
The image below shows how all three variables play into fatigue. It also shows that not only do they cause fatigue, but fatigue causes them as well.
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 youve been told you have diabetes, a health care 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 health care 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.
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Diet: The Right Balance For Diabetes And Weight Loss
Keep tight control over your blood sugar levels while you lose weight. You don’t want to get high or low levels while you change your eating habits.
- 45% to 55% carbs
- 25% to 35% fat
- 10% to 35% protein
Carbs have the biggest effect on blood sugar. Those that have fiber are much better than eating sugary or starchy carbs, because theyâre less likely to spike your blood sugar and quickly make it crash.
S.M.A.R.T. weight loss goals: Make losing weight with diabetes easier by setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. When your goals are S.M.A.R.T., it will be simpler to stay on track with your diet.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals help keep big projects, like losing weight or managing blood sugar, from being overwhelming.
Your steps for success are clearly spelled out so that you know when youâve met the goal.
The biggest payoff comes from turning short-term goals into long-lasting, healthy habits.
To help manage your diabetes, you need to spread carbs out more evenly throughout the day. So, for example, a S.M.A.R.T. goal could be, âI will eat a breakfast containing 45 grams of carbohydrates every day for the next 2 weeks.â
Hereâs the S.M.A.R.T. breakdown:
Specific: Targeted to breakfast
Measurable: 45 grams, every day
Do You Have Any Of Those Symptoms
If you experience any of those early signs of diabetes, visit your GP to test your blood sugar levels.
They can even do a non-invasive finger prick test first to get a general idea, followed by a HbA1c test.
An early diagnosis can stop these temporary symptoms from becoming permanent.
About Joe Leech, Dietitian
Joe Leech is a university-qualified dietitian from Australia.
He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science, followed by a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2011.
Learn more about him on the About page.
Joe Leech, Dietitian
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The 5 Most Severe Consequences Of Extreme Weight
1. Loss of muscle mass
When you lose weight, its not just fat that you lose but muscle as well. A loss in muscle mass often comes with decreasing metabolism rate, which further destabilises the fat-to-muscle ratio. Weaker muscles translate to more inconvenience in day-to-day activities like carrying heavy groceries or climbing the stairs. Even if the number on the weighing scale ends up looking nicer, your quality of life may not be as rosy.
2. Imbalance of electrolytes
Many of our bodily functions are regulated by naturally occurring elements. Any imbalance to the proportion of these elements could be potentially dangerous and may cause conditions such as seizures and arrhythmia . Electrolytes in particular are critical to cellular function and integrity. If the latter were to break down, it wouldn’t be long before the rest of the body follows suit.
3. Nutritional deficiencies
Extreme weight-loss deprives your body of the essential nutrients that are necessary for healthy function. Furthermore, deficiencies in certain nutrients like vitamin D and calcium can lead to an increased risk of developing certain health conditions or predispose you to injury. One such example of a disease associated with nutritional deficiency is anaemia, which is characterised by feelings of weakness and fainting spells and can occur when you your intake of iron is insufficient.
5. Drastic drop in energy levels
What Are The Causes Of Fatigue
Fatigue can be caused by many things. As mentioned earlier, anyone experiencing fatigue should schedule appointment with their physician to make sure that there is not something causing the fatigue that needs treatment. Some of these diseases are anemia, cancer, fibromyalgia, and celiac disease.
In regards to diabetes, fatigue can be caused by many things related to the disease. These include:
- Being overweight
Also Check: Early Onset Diabetes Symptoms
How Can I Help My Child
Your emotional support is an important part of helping your child get to a healthy weight. Overweight kids can have low self-esteem or feel guilty. Try to stay positive and talk about being “healthy” rather than use terms like “fat” or “thin.” Help your child understand that all healthy people need to actively manage their weight even you.
And remember that kids pick up on parental attitudes and actions about weight and eating after all, you buy the food and cook the meals. By buying healthy foods and cooking nutritious meals, you provide the tools your child needs to get to a healthy weight.
Why Does Having Diabetes Cause Fatigue
Having diabetes changes your blood. Imagine someone without diabetes having blood that flows like water. Now imagine someone with diabetes having blood that flows like maple syrup. When the blood flows much thicker and slower, like syrup, it is harder for cells to flow through the bloodstream to provide energy and oxygen to parts of the body, including the brain.
Diabetes also causes inflammation, which sends messages to the brain that the body needs to take a rest in order to heal. When this happens, fatigue is going to be a problem.
One of the biggest reasons that diabetes causes fatigue is because of its complications. Organs such as the kidneys, eyes, heart, and the nerves can all be damaged because of diabetes. End stage renal disease, which is when the kidneys fail, can lead to low red blood cells. Low red blood cells, which is also known as anemia, can lead to fatigue. Studies have shown that people with diabetic complications such as nerve damage, heart disease, and kidney problems have increased levels of fatigue. The next section of this article discussed more things that can cause fatigue.
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Dizziness And Blood Glucose Levels
As is often the case with fairly vague symptoms like dizziness, the weird sensation of the room spinning, being not quite with it, or feeling everyone else seems far away can be a sign of high or low blood glucose.
What is Hypoglycemia? Can it Cause Dizziness?
Hypoglycemia is low blood glucose or low blood sugar it occurs when the glucose levels in the body drop below 70 mg/dL. This is the technical threshold, but if your blood glucose levels have been running very high, you may feel hypoglycemic at a higher number.
The symptoms of hypoglycemia vary from person to person, but there is a set of classic symptoms. Some people only will feel some of these symptoms, while others will feel all of these symptoms and others wont feel any symptoms at all a dangerous condition called hypoglycemia unawareness.
There is two levels of hypoglycemia: mild-to-moderate hypoglycemia and severe hypoglycemia. Well discuss the symptoms for both, as well as the treatment.
Mild-to-moderate hypoglycemia symptoms include:
Treatment of hypoglycemia
Treating hypoglycemia involves the following steps:
Weight Loss In Children
Unexplained weight loss can occur in people who have type 2 diabetes, but its more common in people with type 1. Type 1 diabetes usually affects children and adolescents. Parents are often the first to notice an unusual weight loss in a child with type 1 diabetes.
Weight loss in kids with diabetes can occur even in those who have a normal or increased appetite for the same reasons it happens in adults with diabetes. Once kids are diagnosed and treated for diabetes, weight loss ceases and typically returns to normal.
Also Check: What Is A High Blood Sugar Reading
Causes Of Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system mistakes the cells in your pancreas as harmful and attacks them.
Without insulin, your body will break down its own fat and muscle, resulting in weight loss. This can lead to a serious short-term condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. This is when the bloodstream becomes acidic, you develop dangerous levels of ketones in your blood stream and become severely dehydrated.
This results in the body being unable to produce insulin, which is required to move glucose out of the blood and into your cells to be used for energy. This is called Type 1 diabetes.
Read more about the causes of type 1 diabetes
What Causes Diabetic Amyotrophy
Diabetic amyotrophy is thought to be caused by an abnormality of the immune system, which damages the tiny blood vessels which supply the nerves to the legs. This process is called microvasculitis. The likelihood of getting it does not seem to be related to how long you have diabetes, or how severely you are affected. However, it occurs only very rarely if you don’t have diabetes. It is therefore thought that although having raised blood sugar does not directly damage the nerves, it may contribute in some way to the process of damage.
Could My Fatigue Be Linked To My Depression About Diabetes
Diabetes is a very stressful disease. It takes a lot of time and energy to plan meals and insulin dosages. Having all of the stress can lead to depression. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have depression as those without diabetes.
Depression is a major cause of fatigue, and can make it even harder to manage diabetes because of lack of motivation. It is important that individuals with depression seek help from their doctor/therapist to make sure that they are able to care for themselves. Learning coping mechanisms to deal with your depression which is linked to your diabetes will be effective in the long term.
Treating High Blood Glucose
Hyperglycaemia can occur when your blood glucose levels become too high. It can happen for several reasons, such as eating too much, being unwell or not taking enough insulin.
If you develop hyperglycaemia, you may need to adjust your diet or your insulin dose to keep your glucose levels normal. Your diabetes care team can advise you about the best way to do this.
If hyperglycaemia isn’t treated, it can lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, where the body begins to break down fats for energy instead of glucose, resulting in a build-up of ketones in your blood.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is very serious and, if not addressed quickly, it can lead to unconsciousness and, eventually, death.
The signs of diabetic ketoacidosis include:
- frequently passing urine
Read more about the symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis
Your healthcare team will educate you on how to decrease your risk of ketoacidosis by testing your own blood for ketones using blood ketone sticks if you’re unwell.
If you develop diabetic ketoacidosis, you’ll need urgent hospital treatment. You’ll be given insulin directly into a vein . You may also need other fluids given by a drip if you’re dehydrated, including salt solution and potassium.
Also Check: What Is A Normal A1c For A Non Diabetic
What Is Diabetic Amyotrophy Like
The main features of diabetic amyotrophy are:
- Weakness of the lower legs, buttocks or hip.
- Muscle wasting, usually in the front of the thigh, which follows within weeks.
- Pain, sometimes severe, usually in the front of the thigh but sometimes in the hip, buttock or back.
Other features which occur in some patients are:
- Altered sensation and tingling in the thigh, hip or buttock, which tends to be mild in comparison to the pain and weakness.
- About half of patients also have distal neuropathy, meaning that sensation in the nerves of the lower legs and feet may be separately affected by this condition . See the separate leaflet called Diabetic Neuropathy.
- About half of people affected lose weight.
Symptoms generally begin on one side and then spread to the other in a stepwise progression. The condition may come on quickly or more slowly and usually remains asymmetrical throughout its course. About half of patients also have distal symmetrical polyneuropathy, which means the sensation in their feet and toes on both sides is also affected.
The condition tends to go on for several months but can last up to three years. By the end of this time it usually recovers, although not always completely. During its course it may be severe enough to necessitate wheelchair use.