Glucose is sugar that is derived from certain foods we eat. It is an essential energy source for our bodies. Some of the known sources of Glucose are dried fruits, persimmons, honey. Some foods that act as catalysts for the body to produce Glucose are carbohydrate-rich foods such as corn, rice, and butter.
The way Glucose is transmitted from the bloodstream to our cells is through the hormone called Insulin, which is produced in our Pancreas (the organ behind our stomach).
When the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, too much glucose will be left in our blood. This disease is called Diabetes.
Diabetes in seniors is a serious disease as high glucose levels could damage the blood vessels. And damaged blood vessels can lead to kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes, and a weakened immune system. Two of the known types are Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.
What are the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes is caused by genetics and is inherited. This is the type that currently has no cure but can be managed. People with this type of disease have immune systems that destroy cells that release insulin. The result is that the body cannot produce any insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes slowly hinders the production of insulin and it disrupts the body from using insulin the right way. As this type of disease worsens the pancreas produces less and less insulin resulting in insulin deficiency. Vulnerability to this type of Diabetes in the elderly is also inherited but occurs at a later age if no preventive measures are taken.
How can we prevent Type 2 diabetes?
People who are susceptible to getting this kind of Diabetes should take these steps to prevent developing the disease.
Get enough exercise. We do suggest that you check with your doctor which exercise is right for you.
Maintain a healthy diet especially keeping track of your daily carbohydrate consumption. It is also suggested to consult this with a healthcare professional as each individual has varying nutritional needs.
How can someone with Diabetes cope with the disease?
The tips here are similar to Type 2 diabetes prevention as previously stated. People who have the disease since birth or have acquired it need to work closely with their home/healthcare professional to monitor their blood glucose levels often and to:
Appropriately administer their insulin with insulin pens or syringes or an insulin pump
Get the prescribed/recommended exercise.
Maintain a healthy diet while avoiding or cutting down on food that contributes to a rise in blood glucose levels such as:
— Bacon, regular ground beef, and full-fat dairy such as whole milk and butter which contains saturated fats. Diabetics have a higher chance of getting heart disease.
— Too much carbohydrate-rich food such as crackers, pasta, bread, and cookies as well as food that has processed sugars and low fiber carbohydrates such as candies. With diabetes in seniors, it is important to maintain a carbohydrate count that is recommended by a healthcare professional.
Sources: webmd.com, everydayhealth.com, diabetes.org, cdc.gov, livestrong.com
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The health care or medical information provided on 1Heart Caregiver Services is, at best, of a general nature and cannot replace the advise of a health care/medical professional. 1Heart Caregiver Services will not take responsibility for the results or consequences in attempting to use or adopt any information presented in its blog article
Kevin Tagarao is 1Heart Caregiver Services' Vice President of Operations.