Senior man with diabetes checking blood sugar with glucometer

The Risks of Uncontrolled Diabetes in Seniors

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a condition that occurs when the body can’t regulate its blood sugar levels, leading to an accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream. The disease can have severe consequences if left untreated, especially for seniors.

Diabetes affects people of all ages, but seniors are at a higher risk of developing it. Seniors who have diabetes are also at risk of developing complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and blindness. These issues can be life-threatening and can significantly reduce the quality of life for seniors. 

Dangers of Uncontrolled Diabetes

Let’s discuss what issues may arise when leaving diabetes untreated in seniors:

1. Development of complications

When blood sugar levels remain high for an extended period, they may damage the body’s organs and blood vessels. High blood sugar can damage the kidneys, causing them to fail over time. Nerve damage is another possible issue, leading to a loss of sensation in the feet and hands. This increases the risk of falls, injuries, and infections.

2. Higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease

High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels, making them less flexible and more prone to plaque buildup. This causes the blood vessels to narrow, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Seniors with diabetes are also more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which further increases the risk of heart disease.

3. The risk of developing diabetic retinopathy

Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to vision loss and blindness. Seniors with diabetes are also more likely to develop cataracts and glaucoma, which often further damages their eyesight. Vision loss can significantly reduce the quality of life for seniors, making it challenging to perform everyday tasks and lead an independent life.

4. Higher risk of developing infections 

A high blood sugar levels weakens the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. Seniors with diabetes are more likely to develop infections such as urinary tract infections, skin infections, and pneumonia. These infections can be more severe and harder to treat in seniors, leading to hospitalization and a longer recovery time.

5. Higher risk of developing diabetic foot ulcers

High blood sugar levels may damage the nerves in the feet, reducing sensation and making it harder to feel pain. This leads to possible injuries that go unnoticed, such as cuts or blisters. If infected, the development of foot ulcers may occur, which are challenging to treat in seniors.

These dangers highlight the importance of managing diabetes in seniors. Seniors with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly, take medication as prescribed, and make lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. They should also attend regular checkups with their healthcare provider to monitor their blood sugar levels and manage any complications that may arise.

Reducing the Risk of Diabetes

Seniors who are concerned about preventing uncontrolled diabetes may have questions about the steps they can take to reduce their risk. These include:

  • What are the warning signs of diabetes, and when should I see a healthcare provider?
  • How can I manage my blood sugar levels, and what lifestyle changes can I make to prevent complications?
  • Are there any foods or supplements that can help prevent diabetes or manage my blood sugar levels?
  • What type of exercise is safe and effective for seniors with diabetes, and how often should I exercise?
  • What complications should I be aware of, and how can I reduce my risk of developing them?

Seniors should not hesitate to ask these questions to their healthcare provider, who can provide guidance and support in managing their diabetes and reducing their risk of developing complications. It is essential for seniors to take an active role in their health and to seek help if they are struggling to manage their condition.

Seniors should also attend regular checkups to manage their condition effectively. By managing their diabetes and relying on the support of family and caregivers, seniors can reduce their risk of developing complications and lead a healthier, more fulfilling life. Professional help and care is accessible to everyone and may be used for healthier life outcomes. 

South Coast Post Acute is Southern California’s Premier Post-Acute Partner

Better health and healing are possible with the right professional oversight. At South Coast Post Acute, we deliver specialized skilled nursing services to restore health, regain autonomy and reduce the occurrences of rehospitalization. 

South Coast Post Acute is here for you, at any age. Our innovative care, experienced staff, and welcoming accommodations combine to bring you the high level of care you’ve come to expect from Southern California’s leading post-acute provider.

Contact us today for more information on how we can help you on your journey back to restored health.

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