Diabetes is an illness which affects millions every year. Around 700 people per day are diagnosed with diabetes and it affects an average of 1 in every 4 residents of care homes.
Diabetes affects how your body turns food into energy. When your food is broken down, it often breaks down into sugar (glucose) and this is released into your bloodstream. This blood sugar level, signals to your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to allow blood sugar to be used by your body’s cells as energy.
When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin, or doesn’t use the insulin it does make very well. If you have too little insulin, you will have too much blood sugar causing illnesses such as heart and kidney disease or vision loss.
Diabetes is more common in the elderly due to the combined effects of increasing insulin resistance and impaired pancreatic function which are both associated with aging.
The three main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, although it is widely believed to be an autoimmune reaction that stops your body from making insulin. Only 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1 and generally it affects children, teens and young adults and you must take insulin every day in order to survive. There is no known prevention to this type of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is where your body doesn’t use the insulin well or the body can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels. This affects 90-95% of those with diabetes. This usually is diagnosed in adults and the elderly, and is prevented with healthy lifestyles including healthy weight, eating plenty of fruit and veg and remaining active.
As elderly people tend to be more frail and susceptible to illness, diabetes-related complications are more common and harder to manage. In addition to this, exercise and adapting a diet can be much more difficult and challenging for the elderly.
At Aura Care Living, we have many residents who have come to us after being diagnosed with Diabetes. We work hard with them, their doctors and their families to create a unique and healthy diet which is vital. We also ensure a wide and varied lists of activities, to keep their mobility levels high and ensure they are maintaining their health as best as possible.