Did you know that San Diego County estimates that half of adult San Diegans are on the path to diabetes? That’s much higher than the national rate of approximately one in three American adults. The symptoms of prediabetes can be unremarkable, and that the CDC says that prediabetes is highly likely to become Type 2 diabetes within five years of onset. That’s a concern for San Diegans over age 45, the elderly in home care, and any home care companion for seniors. Let’s talk about diabetes, prediabetes, symptoms and the home care solutions that can address them.
We shared the basics of diabetes for seniors and caregivers on our blog in November 2015 during American Diabetes Month. There are three kinds of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy, can be very dangerous to both mother and child, and causes Type 2 diabetes later in life to half of all women who develop it. Type 1 diabetes patients comprise about five percent of all diabetes patients. Type 1 used to be known as juvenile diabetes, but it now afflicts more adults than children within that five percent. Type 2 diabetes is considered a long-term metabolic disorder caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin, or inability to react properly to the insulin produced. Type 2 diabetes is caused almost exclusively by factors like age, ethnicity, weight and inactivity. Though it was once known as adult-onset diabetes, more and more children are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes as another consequence of the childhood obesity epidemic. According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can be subtle and possibly develop so slowly that patients can have Type 2 diabetes for years without realizing it. What should seniors and caregivers in San Diego look for? Per the Mayo Clinic,
- “Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Unintended weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections
- Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck”
Gestational diabetes naturally goes away after giving birth, and Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition managed with insulin for life. The good news for anyone in San Diego home care is that Type 2 diabetes can be managed with lifestyle changes. And proactively tackling prediabetes can even prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes altogether. Given the dire list of complications from diabetes, affecting the heart, the kidneys, the eyes and even the extremities, to name a few, heading diabetes off at the pass sounds like a great idea. So what does that look like for those providing and receiving home care in San Diego?
More than 84 million people in the United States have pre-diabetes, meaning their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but lower than the level diagnosed as diabetes? And that nine out of every 10 people who have it don’t even know it? Prediabetes is a real and serious condition, not just a warning sign. Prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes if not checked or addressed, but also puts patients at risk for heart disease and stroke too. People with prediabetes may have no obvious symptoms or reason to check their blood sugar levels, which means they lose the opportunity to avoid more serious conditions without even realizing it. According to the CDC, the symptoms of prediabetes include:
- “Being overweight
- Being 45 years or older
- Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week
- Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds
- Being a specific ethnicity or race: African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk”
The American Medical Association and the CDC have created a risk test for prediabetes, which you can take at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. A short list of ways to address prediabetes, especially for those in home care in San Diego, includes consistent exercise, healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight, sleeping well, reducing stress and quitting smoking if you’re still holding out on that. The CDC offers a National Diabetes Prevention Program to help people at risk make the changes that will prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. Nationally, the YMCA offers a Diabetes Risk Prevention Program. In San Diego, Scripps Hospital offers this CDC program for free. If you need help implementing the lifestyle changes that can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes, an in-home care agency in San Diego can help.