Perhaps one of the most serious diseases challenging older American's today is diabetes. Indicated by high blood sugar, diabetes can cause other major health problems such as stroke or heart attack. Fortunately, individuals with diabetes can avoid many of its associated problems by taking control of the disease.
In addition, those who are concerned that they may eventually get diabetes have options to lower their risk.
The food we eat is converted into glucose by our bodies. Insulin assists in getting glucose into our cells, where it is used to make energy. Those with diabetes often have problem with insulin: their bodies may not create enough, or use it apporpriately, or both.
In addition to your normal physician, those with diabetes may also be treated by a specialist known as an endocribologist.
Diabetes is broken down into two categories. Either may occur at any age.
Typically occuring in children and young adults, type 1 diabetes occurs when the body make too little, or no insulin.
More common in those who are inactive or overweight, or with a family history of diabetes, type 2 diabetes occurs when the body makes insulin, but does not use it correctly. Type 2 diabetes is also sometimes referred to as adult onset diabetes.
Diabetes may cause problems throughout the body, and should be kept under control. Over a period of time, diabetes may lead to circulation problems requireing amputation, stroke, heart disease, blindness and nerve damage. And people with type 2 diabetes also have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Individuals who have higher than normal blood gucose levels, but have not been diagnosed with diabetes may have pre-diabetes. Still serious, pre-diabetes may lead to type 2 diabetes. However, those diagnosed with pre-diabetes may be able to avoid, or at least delay, type 2 diabetes by losing weight or eating healthy. In fact, 30 minutes of activity several days a week may have significant impact. Of course you should speak to your physician before beginning any exercise routine.
Diabetes symptoms may be mild - in fact the Centers for Disease Control estimate that 7 million people in the U.S. may have type 2 diabets, but have not been diagnosed.
Doctors employ several tests to check for diabetes:
Your physician may perform a second test to confirm any initial findings.
Once diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the physician may presecibe medicine to help keep blood glucose levels under control. There are numerous kinds of medication that accomplish this, and your doctor will make the choice based on your unique case.
In addition to medicine, those with diabetes may perform some of the following to better manage the disease:
Your doctor may want you to see other healthcare providers who can help manage some of the extra problems caused by diabetes. He or she can also give you a schedule for other tests that may be needed. Talk to your doctor about how to stay healthy.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
In case of emeregency, conisder keeping three days' worth of supplies on hand related to diabetes testing and treatment.
Medicare may pay to help you learn how to care for your diabetes. It will also help pay for diabetes tests, supplies, special shoes, foot exams, eye tests, and meal planning. Be sure to check your Medicare plan to find more information.
For more information about what Medicare covers, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit their website, www.medicare.gov.