November is American Diabetes Month and the number of Americans suffering from this health issue continues to rise. So, what can you do, particularly the elderly population, to protect yourselves from this serious disease?

Let’s first look at some statistics. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), just under 10 percent of the entire American population have some form of diabetes, 25 percent of which are people 65 and older. Some experts project those numbers to increase exponentially as our elderly population continues to increase.

In its simplest form diabetes affects how your body turns food into energy. Food is broken down into sugar or glucose and is then released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar rises the pancreas releases insulin to allow your body to use the glucose as energy. With diabetes, your body doesn’t produce enough insulin and the blood sugar remains in your bloodstream, which can lead to serious health issues.

Senior citizens are typically at risk for type 2 diabetes which results from lifelong eating and lifestyle habits. Inactivity, genetics, excess fat and even demographics can play a role. But routine monitoring and lifestyle changes can play a huge role in combatting diabetes. Therefore, it’s crucial that learn how to lead healthier lives in order to combat this disease.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Better eating habits – Choose healthier food options including more vegetables, nuts and fruits
  • Exercise – Get up off the couch and get active! Walk or jog regularly or join a gym if you need the structure
  • Weight loss – If you do 1 and 2 you’re likely going to experience weight loss as a result!
  • Routine medical checkups – If you experience any of the following symptoms of type 2 diabetes check with your doctor right away
    • Frequent urination
    • Extreme hunger or thirst
    • Fatigue
    • Blurred vision

Stay on top of your blood sugar levels and take the necessary steps right away to lead a healthier lifestyle. Getting diagnosed with pre-diabetes does not inevitably mean you’ll end up with diabetes, but it does mean you need to act quickly to enjoy a long and healthy retirement!

Looking for more information? Visit the Mayo Clinic for a complete rundown of symptoms, causes, risk factors and prevention.