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Diabetes

More than one in five senior citizens has diabetes. If you are over age 45 you should consult your health care provider about testing for pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. You are at greater risk of developing pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Are age 45 or older
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are overweight
  • Have an inactive lifestyle (exercise less than three times a week)
  • Are members of a high-risk ethnic population (e.g., African  American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian American, Pacific Islander)
  • Have high blood pressure: 140/90 mm/Hg or higher
  • Have an HDL cholesterol less than 35 mg/dL or a triglyceride level 250 mg/dL or higher 
  • Have a history of disease of the blood vessels to the heart, brain, or legs have had IFG or IGT on previous testing.

Today we have a great formula for prevention. This includes regular physical activity and changing the way we eat, especially reducing our fat consumption. Prevention of the onset of diabetes is much better than having the disease. Modern medicine has made remarkable progress when it comes to treatment of diabetes. For seniors, we highly recommend that you consult your doctor if you think you may have one or more of the signs and symptoms of diabetes.

What Is Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

There are 20.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 7% of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 14.6 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 6.2 million people (or nearly one-third) are unaware that they have the disease.

If you think you might have diabetes, contact your family doctor immediately. There are various tests that can be done to see if you have pre-diabetes or diabetes. Remember, early detection is critical. Your physician can be extremely helpful in making suggestions for changes in your diet and recommend ways to help increase your level of physical activity which in some cases, might even be able to help return your blood glucose levels to the normal range. There are also various prescription medications available to help keep diabetes under control. Consult your physician as to which one is right for you, if needed.

Source: American Diabetes Association

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