According to the American Diabetes Association, one in four seniors over the age of 60 have Type 2 diabetes. There is no cure for diabetes, but there are a number of ways to manage the disease. A diabetes health care team is often put in place to guide patients and caregivers through the disease and self-care. With this diagnosis, there are many aspects of your daily life to take into consideration but this is where your care team will be by your side every step of the way. Your diabetes care team may include your doctor, nurse, registered dietitian, pharmacist, diabetes educator, immediate family members, and caregiver. Management of the condition will include ongoing evaluation of your exercise and activity level, regular checks of your blood glucose, possible medications, ongoing diabetes education, diet education, weight management, learning to listen to your body, and quitting any harmful activities such as smoking.
You will also want to take into consideration precautionary measures when you travel. Your care team will guide you through your travel plan but it will most likely include a diabetes identification bracelet, extra insulin and medications, snacks and testing supplies, all of which you should carry on you at all times so that it is not left back at the hotel room or packed in your luggage when on a plane.
Having diabetes can also put you at risk for a number of health complications so it will be important to follow your care plan closely and talk to you your doctor when any issues or symptoms arise. However, good management of your diabetes may help prevent many of the conditions. The most common complications include heart and blood vessel disease, eye disease, kidney disease, nerve disease, hearing loss, and dental problems. If you think you may have one of these complications, it is important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor.
Whether you have recently been diagnosed with the disease or have been managing it for many years, you are not alone. Your care team is always going to be there to help you when you have bad days and to celebrate the great days, weeks and months with you. Together you and your team will identify the best management plan for you.