Diabetes prevents the body from using glucose effectively. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, helps the body use glucose for energy. In people with diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin or the body is insulin resistant. Children and young adults may develop type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body produces no insulin. Type 2 diabetes is considered an adult disease and occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or is insulin resistant. Older people are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Understanding the common risk factors for diabetes can help elderly individuals avoid or address the condition.
1. Being Overweight
An individual who is overweight can become insulin resistant. Insulin behaves like a key to “unlock” the cells and allow glucose to enter. When a person is insulin resistant, insulin cannot do its job, so glucose remains in the blood, causing high blood sugar.
2. Limited Physical Activity
Seniors may be able to postpone or avoid the onset of diabetes by engaging in regular physical activity. Exercise can help elderly people maintain a healthy weight, burn blood sugar, and use insulin more efficiently.
If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Sacramento, CA, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
An older adult who has a family history of diabetes can be at higher risk for developing the condition. Obesity, one of the risk factors for diabetes, runs in some families, especially those that regularly consume foods that contribute to weight gain, and these habits are sometimes passed down to future generations. Not every senior with a family history of diabetes will develop the disease. However, being aware of a genetic predisposition to the disease may help some individuals make healthy lifestyle choices to avoid developing it.
Individuals of some races tend to be at higher risk for diabetes. Research shows diabetes rates are higher among persons in the following groups: African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander. Researchers aren’t sure why these groups are at higher risk for developing diabetes.
Research shows when individuals reach their mid-forties, they typically exercise less, which can result in weight gain and the loss of lean muscle mass.
If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Sacramento elderly home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.
6. Damage to the Pancreas
Medication and disease can damage the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. Older adults sometimes take multiple medications and are also at risk for pancreatic inflammation and cancer. These conditions can lead to the removal of part or all of the pancreas, which results in diabetes.
7. History of Gestational Diabetes
Some women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Treatment for gestational diabetes may include diet and exercise, medication, or insulin. After a woman gives birth, gestational diabetes usually goes away. However, a woman who experienced gestational diabetes may develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional senior care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at 916.706.0169.