November is the prototypical time for Americans to sit down to a lavish Thanksgiving spread and go absolutely hog-wild. But this year, it’s also an opportunity to remember an issue many people would rather forget. This November is National Diabetes Month, a time to contemplate how this serious disease affects millions of diabetics each year. With such a large part of treatment and prevention starting with your food, it’s especially important at the dinner table.
What is Diabetes?
The bodies of diabetics cannot produce or process insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which allows the body to absorb glucose from the bloodstream into our cells. Without this vital process, glucose rises to dangerous levels in the blood, resulting in hyperglycemia. This condition, if left untreated, damages organs and results in serious complications.
This dangerous disease is also fairly common. Ten percent of Americans are diabetics, and 84 million are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Treatment can be costly; in fact, diabetics spent about $327 billion on treatment in 2017. Between expensive medications and the fact that many people with diabetes tend to be older and require in-depth care, managing diabetes is a challenge that will last a person’s lifetime.
The Three Types of Diabetes
There are three main types of diabetes, each with associated risks and treatments.
Type 1 diabetes: This type of diabetes most often occurs in children, though it can develop at any age. People with type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin. Treatment includes receiving regular insulin injections to stimulate the hormone’s natural production.
Type 2 diabetes: The vast majority of diabetes cases fall into this category — between 90 and 95 percent. In this case, the body does produce insulin, but it cannot process it correctly. Healthy eating and exercise can vastly improve outlooks for people with type 2 diabetes. However, in time, medical intervention will likely also be necessary. Factors that increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes include poor diet and lack of exercise, a family history of diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Gestational diabetes: Defined by high levels of blood glucose during pregnancy, this type of diabetes can lead to dangerous complications. Usually the condition resolves itself after the pregnancy, but women and their children may be in a higher risk category for type 2 diabetes throughout their lives as a result.
Treatment Requires Constant Vigilance
Managing diabetes takes a lot of work. The treatment for type 1 diabetes involves daily insulin injections on a rigorous schedule. Those with type 2 diabetes have to restructure their lives and habits to compensate for the disease — and even then will often still require medication.
For some, diabetes is an unavoidable fact of genetics. For others, lifestyle choices can help reduce risk and improve outlooks. Healthy habits such as good diet and regular exercise can even prevent type 2 diabetes entirely. Simple health-conscious decisions like staying hydrated and getting up to move more frequently can also have a massive impact on your chances of developing diabetes. These same decisions also play an important role in managing type 2 diabetes if it does develop. However, many people struggle with the fact that managing the disease is the work of a lifetime. With such essential and recurring demands, many people could use some help staying on track.
Home Caregivers Provide Vital Assistance for Diabetics
For seniors struggling with diabetes, maintaining these lifestyle changes can be even more difficult. Though a loved one can help seniors stay on top of their regimen of medication and healthy living, the constant nature of these concerns can put a strain on even the most patient family member. Having an in-home caregiver is a great way to make sure seniors get the care they need without causing relationships to suffer.
Caregivers can assist with planning and cooking healthy meals and regulating portion sizes. Many seniors might avoid exercise due to fear of suffering a fall; having a caregiver at hand can assuage those concerns and help seniors stay active. As maintaining frequent medication is crucial for managing diabetes, caregivers can ensure that seniors are sticking to their treatment plan. Diabetes demands attention to the details; an in-home caregiver can be there to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.