Greetings! With the dog days of summer upon us, I have decided to take a few days off. A lovely young woman by the name of Brenda Hastings has joined our team, and she is filling in for me this month. Enjoy the new voice.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a sweet tooth. To me, there is nothing better than ending the day with a bowl of ice cream topped with cookie crumbles, or snacking between meals on chocolates, or leaving the beach with a box of salt water taffy in tow.
Sugar has always been my weakness, and that is something that I share with my dad. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and in our case it’s true. However, one thing I hope to never have in common with him is that he was recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic. Though he doesn’t have diabetes yet, his higher than normal blood sugar tells us that diabetes is something he will likely have eventually. This is worrisome to me, not only for his health, but for my own as well.
It seems that everyone knows someone who has diabetes, and for good reason. Half of all diabetes occurs in people older than 55. Nearly 20 percent of all Americans age 65 and older battle daily to keep their diabetes under control. That means that this insidious disease is running rampant throughout our senior population.
There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 is when the body makes little or no insulin and typically develops in children and young adults, and Type 2 is when the body makes insulin but doesn’t use it correctly. Sometimes referred to as adult onset diabetes, the chance of getting Type 2 is higher if you are overweight, inactive, and/or have a family history of diabetes.
Knowing the symptoms and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are important for keeping diabetes at bay. Early diagnosis is critical. Some symptoms to be aware of include: feeling rundown and lethargic, weight loss or weight gain, blurred vision, sores or wounds that heal slowly or frequent urinary tract infections, numbness, tingling or burning sensation in your arms or legs. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important for you to mention it to your doctor so that he/she can test for diabetes.
Having diabetes doesn’t mean your life is over, but it can cause complications — if not well managed — that could impact your future health. Diabetes related problems can be prevented if you work closely with your doctor. There is no cure for diabetes; however, adding regular exercise and a healthy diet to your daily activities, in addition to glucose monitoring, helps maintain control of your diabetes. Medication is available if needed, though these can be expensive and come with unwanted side effects.
If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms, or just want some additional information on diabetes, there are several helpful resources available, including: American Diabetes Association, National Diabetes Education Program and National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC). Speaking with your doctor, asking questions and being honest about your health is a great way to prevent or manage your diabetes.
Take control of your health now, so you can live a long, sweet life.