According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 25% of US seniors have diabetes, and a whopping 50% have prediabetes. In seniors, diabetes is associated with higher mortality rates, higher risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced function, and decreased ability to live independently.
However, it is possible to live a healthy life with diabetes.
Follow these 5 tips to avoid diabetes-related complications:
- Have a Medical Team — and Check in with Them Regularly
It is important to use a team approach in managing diabetes since the disease affects a variety of organ systems. A diabetic healthcare team typically includes a primary care doctor, endocrinologist, dentist, ophthalmologist, and a podiatrist. A cardiologist or other specialist may also be required, depending on the diabetic’s specific condition.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends diabetics see their healthcare providers at least twice a year in order to prevent small problems from becoming big ones.
- Keep Your Blood Sugar Level in Check
The higher your blood sugar level, the greater your risk of diabetes complications. It is crucial to keep your blood glucose level within the range specified by your healthcare provider. This will protect you, especially from microvascular disease, which affects small blood vessels such as those in the kidneys and the eyes, and diabetic neuropathy, nerve damage that most commonly affects the eyes and feet.
- Watch Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure in diabetics is associated with increased risk of kidney damage. Aim to keep your blood pressure under 130/80. High blood pressure has no symptoms, so it is important to have your blood pressure measured regularly.
Reducing your salt intake and losing weight can help you control your blood pressure. If required, your doctor can also prescribe blood pressure medication.
- Manage Your Cholesterol
Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease; keeping cholesterol levels under control is an excellent way to protect your heart.
HDL, healthy cholesterol, should be over 40 mg/dL. LDL, unhealthy cholesterol, should be under 100 mg/dL. Triglycerides should be under 150 mg/dL.
Diabetics should have regular fasting blood tests to confirm their cholesterol levels are within range.
- Watch Your Feet
Diabetes impairs circulation and healing, allowing even minor problems with the feet to turn into medical emergencies. For this reason, a podiatrist is an important member of a diabetes healthcare team.
In addition, diabetics should wash and check their feet every day, always wear socks and shoes, and have their feet checked at every medical exam.
Diabetes is a serious disease, with major potential complications, but with proper care a diabetic can live a normal, healthy life.
At Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center, in Keansburg, NJ, our residents receive the highest quality rehabilitative and skilled nursing care in a homelike and compassionate environment conducive to healing.
Our family-owned and -operated 123-bed facility, is tucked away in the quiet beach town of Keansburg, NJ at the Jersey Shore, within sight of Sandy Hook and the New York City skyline.
Our services include short-term rehab, long-term care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, hospice care, and respite care for those times when the caretaker needs to be taken care of.
We proudly provide the following specialty healthcare services: complex medical care management, intravenous (IV) therapy, wound care, enteral feeding, pain management, oxygen therapy, tracheostomy care, a dedicated pulmonary program, hospice care with private suites, a stroke rehab program, respiratory support, eye care, dental care, podiatry care, and psychological consults and counseling.
We pride ourselves on healing the entire patient through a holistic and individualized approach.
Our meticulous care planning helps us ensure that each and every resident receives the best in clinical care, support and unconditional love.
For over 25 years, we have been a staple of health and wellness, serving the members of our community and partnering with our local hospitals like Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, NJ and Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, NJ.
We provide a tailored program of physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as all types of specialized care under one roof.
Or better yet, come see for yourself. Contact us to schedule a tour by clicking here or by calling (372) 787-8100.