Understanding the causes of diabetes can help you prevent your aging parent from developing it.
As you care for your loved one, there are a number of chronic health conditions to be on the lookout for – diabetes being one of the more common. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 29 million people living with diabetes, but 1 in 4 doesn't even know. That's why it's so important to be aware of the causes and symptoms of diabetes so you can help your aging parent live his or her healthiest life.
Type 1 Diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, only 5 percent of people living with diabetes have Type 1. It's caused by the lack of insulin production in the body, a hormone that is necessary for transporting glucose from the bloodstream to the cells. While this type is most common in children and young adults, it can still develop at any age.
Some symptoms include: Increased thirst, hunger and urination, as well as irritability, fatigue and unintended weight loss.
Unfortunately, Type 1 diabetes isn't preventable, as the exact cause is unknown. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease reported that genetics are likely to blame. Certain foods, viruses and toxins also contribute to the development of Type 1 diabetes, but they cannot cause the disease on their own. The nature of their role is still unidentifiable.
Type 2 Diabetes
With Type 2 diabetes, the body is resistant to insulin because it doesn't know how to use it properly. When the pancreas realizes insulin is needed, it creates more to make up for it – but only at first. Over time, it won't be able to keep up, so the glucose levels in the body won't be kept normal.
Some symptoms include: Increased thirst, hunger and urination. Blurred vision, extreme fatigue and pain and numbness in the hands and feet are common signs as well.
According to the NIDDK, genes, abnormal glucose production by the liver and beta cell dysfunction are most commonly to blame for Type 2 diabetes. However, there are a number of lifestyle factors that increase one's risk. Those include:
- Being overweight or obese.
- Neglecting to stay physically active.
- Having high blood pressure.
Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 is preventable with a number of healthy lifestyle choices. Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet and setting aside time for fitness throughout the week can reduce your risk for developing this disease.
If you feel as though your aging parent is at risk for diabetes, it's important to schedule a visit with the GP. The doctor can test his or her blood glucose levels and determine if they are normal. From there, the GP can prescribe diabetes medication or simply provide guidance on how to make healthier choices in regard to diet and exercise.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living