Ageing Gracefully with Diabetes
Dr. Geeta Aurangabadkar

Dr. Geeta Aurangabadkar

Aug 30Diabetes

Ageing Gracefully with Diabetes

This article is compiled by Sanjana Varma, a freelance writer at Proactive For Her.

What do you mean by ageing gracefully?

Ageing gracefully doesn’t mean looking young, it’s about being in your best health physically and mentally. As you get older, your metabolism is affected. This can change how your body processes nutrients. Your body’s every function gets affected, nevertheless, you can make your body’s transition healthily.

Diabetes and ageing

Diabetes is a disease that affects the old and young alike. Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose is too high. Blood glucose is the main source of energy that comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, is what helps glucose from food be used for energy. If you are a diabetic, your body doesn’t make enough or no insulin at all. It can also be due to your body’s inability to use insulin.

Diabetes can be managed effectively with medicines and lifestyle changes. If not treated, it might lead to various health issues later in life. As you age, diabetes may lead to chronic pain, falls, dementia, incontinence (unintentional passing of urine) and depression and heart diseases. This may in turn lead to the need for multiple medications (polypharmacy).

Problems associated with diabetes in old age

Diabetes in old age can be linked:

  • loss of muscle mass
  • peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in feet and hands)
  • stroke, heart problems
  • visual impairment
  • kidney failure
  • depression
  • hypoglycaemia ( low blood sugar)
  • dementia
  • frailty
  • peripheral vascular disease (poor blood circulation)

Myths busted

Indeed, diabetes cannot be cured but it can be managed well with medicines and a healthy lifestyle even when you are old. Let’s bust some of these myths:

1. The high prevalence of diabetes in older adults is inevitable: Proper checkups, medication and a healthy lifestyle can help you stay miles away from diabetes.

2. Old people cannot monitor their blood glucose: Glucometer is an easy way to monitor your blood sugar level. It can be easily used by all irrespective of age.

3. Old people with diabetes are obese: People of all body types can get diabetes in older age group.

Diabetes isn’t curable, but you can take steps to manage your blood sugar and lower your risk of complications. For example, eating a well-balanced diet and exercising 30 minutes per day can help you control your blood glucose levels. It’s also important to follow your doctor’s prescribed medication plan.

How can I age gracefully with diabetes?

Ageing can be a beautiful experience if you put a little care into it. Ageing doesn't mean giving up your favourite sweet or snack. It’s all about balance and keeping your body tiptop inside and out.

Women over the age of 40 may follow these ways to keep their diabetes from raging uncontrolled.

  • Plan healthy meals for the family. Cut down carbohydrates and eat more greens.
  • Don’t forget to exercise. Choose any activity of your choice and stay fit.
  • Go for health checkups once in a while and visit your doctor after.
  • Take medications as per prescription. You may be advised to take pills, injections or both depending on the severity of your condition. Never skip a dose.
  • Eat breakfast. This can help you maintain steady blood glucose levels.
  • Avoid soda and fizzy drinks.
  • Cut back on alcohol and stop smoking
  • Check blood glucose levels and monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Make sure to look at your feet every day for cuts or signs of infection. Keep your feet clean, use lotion to avoid dryness, and wear comfortable shoes that will not cause blisters.
  • Keep your mind happy and avoid stress as much as you can. Spend time with your near and dear ones.
  • Embrace your age, this gives a positive attitude towards life. Ageing is inevitable and learning to embrace it can make all the difference.
  • Cultivate new hobbies or dust out your old ones. Keep yourself engaged.
  • Ensure you get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. It plays an important role in your physical and mental health. It can do miracles to your skin.
  • Finding new and meaningful hobbies can help you maintain a sense of purpose and keep you engaged throughout your life.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Practice meditation, breathing exercises, yoga or even mindfulness.

Bottom Line

Age is just a number. The important thing is to accept that ageing is a normal part of growth. Respect your body and it shows. Diabetes can be managed and not at the expense of your happiness. It’s just a call for proper action to reclaim your health.

Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

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