Diabetes in the elderly is treated by careful monitoring of diet and glucose levels. In many cases, medication such as insulin may be prescribed. Proper treatment of open wounds to prevent infection is another measure taken for diabetes in the elderly.
Elderly patients with type 2 diabetes typically require frequent testing of blood sugar levels. When levels remain high, even with the intervention of medication, serious complications may occur, including life-threatening infections or even blindness. Modification of diet is often recommended for seniors with diabetes. This typically means refraining from sugary foods and foods high in carbohydrates.
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Managing diabetes in the elderly who live alone is often more difficult. This is because many seniors who have mild forms of dementia or other problems with cognizance may not be diligent in taking medication and adhering to the recommended diabetes regimen. It is important for a caregiver to closely monitor the elderly patient.
Treating diabetes in the elderly often means close monitoring of other medical conditions as well. For example, patients with diabetes may be at higher risk for elevated blood pressure. If hypertension is an issue, it is crucial to treat this condition as well. Often, this may require blood pressure medication.
Another essential step in treating diabetes in the elderly is to maintain proper foot care. This is because diabetics can be prone to foot infections. Open sores, especially on the feet or legs, are a common problem in advanced cases. This is a particular concern for elderly patients. In many cases, wearing special shoes designed for diabetics may help prevent problems.
Diabetes management in older patients may be helped through routine exercise. This should be with the supervision of a physician. Moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, may be beneficial. In conjunction with physical activity, weight management is another measure that can help keep diabetes in the elderly in check. Patients who are obese or even moderately overweight have a higher risk of diabetes complications, so a physician may recommend weight loss if he feels it is necessary.
Annual eye examinations are essential for elderly patients with diabetes. Many senior patients with advanced diabetes suffer from vision difficulties. Recognizing and treating vision problems before they become advanced can save a patient's eyesight. Cataracts are a common complication of diabetes, therefore surgery for removal may help prevent vision loss. In addition, simple screenings for glaucoma can prevent blindness from diabetes.