November is Diabetes Awareness Month

A smiling senior woman checks her blood glucose level for Diabetes Awareness Month.

Did you know that seniors are affected by diabetes more than any other age group? According to the American Diabetes Association, about 25% of adults over the age of 65 are living with diabetes in the United States. Every November is designated as Diabetes Awareness Month, a time when communities and organizations across the country team up to raise awareness about what this diagnosis involves. Whether you’ve been diagnosed yourself, or you have a loved one living with this disease, now is a good time to learn more about this common condition.

Diabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar level, or blood glucose, is too high. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use glucose from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. When your body does not produce enough insulin or isn’t using it effectively, glucose stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells. Over time, too much glucose can cause health problems, including diabetes.

What are the Types of Diabetes?

There are several types of diabetes. The four most common types are type 1, type 2, prediabetes and gestational diabetes.

  1. Type 1 diabetes – People with type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age.
  2. Type 2 diabetes – People with type 2 diabetes cannot make or use insulin well. This is the most common type of diabetes and is most often found in middle-aged and older people.
  3. Prediabetes – Individuals with prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2. According to the CDC, about 84 million American adults – more than 1 out of 3 – have prediabetes. Of those that have it, 90% are unaware.
  4. Gestational – Gestational diabetes can develop during pregnancy in women. Every year, 2% to 10% of pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born. However, about 50% of women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Warning Signs to Watch For

Some of the diabetes symptoms to look for include:

  • Excessive thirst or hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Nausea
  • Tingling, numbness or pain in the hands and feet

While diabetes develops gradually, symptoms can sometimes feel as though they come on suddenly. It’s important not to ignore any warning signs you may experience and contact your doctor right away if you experience a symptom that concerns you.

Are There Any Treatments for Diabetes?

Although there is no cure for diabetes, there are a variety of treatment options based on the type and severity. The primary goal of diabetes treatment is managing blood sugar levels in the body. Typically, type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin and dietary changes. Type 2 diabetes is often managed with non-insulin medications, insulin, exercise, weight loss and dietary changes.

While diabetes is not preventable in all cases, here are some things you can do to lower your risk of developing diabetes or prevent it from getting worse if you are in the prediabetes or borderline stages:

  1. Increase your physical activity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
  2. Improve your nutritional health by eating a healthy, well-balanced mix of foods.
  3. Cut sugar and refined carbs from your diet.
  4. Drink water to stay hydrated – stay away from soda or juice to avoid additional sugar.
  5. Quit smoking if you haven’t done so already.
  6. Practice portion control at each meal.
  7. Lose weight if you’re overweight.

While these tips are essential in preventing diabetes, they are also helpful habits to adopt for your overall well-being. If you or someone you know is dealing with diabetes, do your part to spread awareness and help prevent future cases from arising. Make a pledge this November to adopt healthy habits and encourage your loved ones to do the same.

Jumpstart a Healthier Lifestyle at Advent Christian Village

At Advent Christian Village, senior health and wellness is a major priority. We promote healthy lifestyles through our focus on wellness and enrichment. Copeland Community Center is staffed with professionals to help you personalize and meet your health and fitness goals. But our commitment to your health doesn’t stop there. Our community dining options offer healthy and delicious meals to keep you nourished and hydrated throughout the day.

We offer a variety of senior living options as well, from independent living to skilled nursing and memory care, ensuring you’ll find a perfect fit here. Contact us today to learn more about our inviting and welcoming community in north Florida. An exciting and healthy life is waiting for you at ACV.

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