- Diabetes is a condition which occurs when blood glucose levels are too high.
- The two main types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2 – with type 2 being the most common.
- With the right care and support, elderly people can continue to live a healthy and independent life with diabetes.
Diabetes is a common condition that affects 9% of adults across the world and 6% of the UK population. While there are a variety of different types of diabetes, there are two which are the most common.
Symptoms of diabetes are unfortunately often mistaken for general feelings of being unwell or tired. For this reason, sometimes a diabetes diagnosis can go undetected – it’s important to see a GP if you think you may have the condition.
Depending on the type of diabetes, it may be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes and medication – and insulin injections for those with type 1 diabetes.
As a person ages, they may require professional support with managing their diabetes as well as other aspects of their life. This is where care options should be considered. Elder live-in care can provide a solution which allows people to retain their independence.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is defined as a condition in which a person’s blood glucose (sugar) levels are too high..
Glucose plays an important role in how the body gains energy – it is essential in ensuring our energy levels remain stable. Glucose is produced when we digest food – it comes from the process in which we break down food.
Then, due to a hormone (insulin) produced in the pancreas – this glucose can enter the bloodstream. It is this essential process that doesn’t work properly in those with diabetes.There are different types of diabetes and, depending on the type a person has, there will be a different reason for this process not working.
The main types of diabetes, and those most people know about are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes develops rapidly, and symptoms can come on quickly over weeks or even days. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes can develop slowly and as the symptoms are so general they can go unnoticed for a long time.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
It is important that, if you think you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you see your GP, as many of the symptoms of diabetes can often go undiagnosed due to them being passed off as general feelings of being unwell, such as:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme tiredness
- Weight loss
- Frequent thrush episodes
- Slow healing cuts
- Blurry vision
What are the most common forms of diabetes?
There aren’t only two types of diabetes – but Type 1 and 2 are the most common forms.
- Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s own immune system attacks the cells which produce the hormone, insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or when the cells in the body don’t react to it. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes – representing an estimated 90% of all adult diabetes cases in the UK.
While the above are the most common – there are thought to be around 11 types in total. One of these is gestational diabetes which is a form of diabetes that affects pregnant women.
How to care for diabetes
Being diagnosed with diabetes doesn’t immediately mean you need to consider drastically changing your life – instead it just means making some lifestyle changes. These will mainly be to your diet, along with regular blood tests to ensure your blood glucose level is stable.
Those with type 1 diabetes will need to have regular insulin injections throughout their life whereas those with type 2 diabetes can often manage their condition through lifestyle changes for a long time. Eventually they may need medication, in the form of tablets.
Diabetes care options
For those living with diabetes there are various care options which may be appropriate – as it can often depend on the severity of the condition, and other potential conditions, as to what level of support is required.
Diabetes itself is not necessarily a reason to need care. However, as a person with diabetes ages, they may require additional support not only with their day-to-day lives but also with ensuring they maintain a healthy lifestyle and take any medication (such as insulin).
Often, those with diabetes may not require full nursing care. Therefore, supporting care options would be appropriate, such as:
- Residential care homes
- Assisted living
- Domiciliary care
- Live-in care
How can Elder help with diabetes care?
While there are a range of suitable options for diabetes care, live-in care offers a solution that enables the elderly to retain their independence at home while still receiving the full time support they require.
Domiciliary or visiting care is often a standard choice for those who wish to remain in their home, but unfortunately sporadic visits are often not enough.
Elder live-in carers are available to help with running errands, housework, meal planning and cooking, pet care and supporting with medication and treatment plans.
Elder matches carers with care receivers based on both their care needs and personality types to ensure that your loved one not only has their care needs met but also gets along with their carer – this is important after all.