During November, the American Diabetes Association wonders how you will stop diabetes?
The number of people suffering with diabetes in America may astonish you.
30 million adults and children in America live with diabetes, that is 9% of the population or one in eleven of us.
Another 8 million diabetics are going undiagnosed. And 86 million have prediabetes and 15% to 30% of these people will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years if left undiagnosed and treated.
Diabetes is considered to be a deadly disease, not just a condition to be dealt with everyday, so becoming serious about prevention is important for our seniors — and us too.
It is estimated that the risk of death is 50% greater for people with diabetes.
The cost to the country is staggering, as healthcare costs for treating diabetes in the US exceed $245 Billion!
The Need for Prevention
Due to the growing number of people at risk for developing diabetes, November has been set aside to learn more about the disease and how we can all prevent becoming one of the statistics.
The best way to fight diabetes is through prevention.
The first thing to do is get tested to be sure your senior loved one or you isn’t one of the millions of people who are unaware they have diabetes already.
Once you or your senior get tested and know your numbers, you might want to use this screening tool to determine the likelihood your senior or you will develop diabetes.
Now that you are both armed with the information you and your senior need, it is time to create a plan for prevention.
Research has shown that a moderate weight loss and physical activity of 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
A 5% to 7% weight loss will have a great impact on your senior’s health.
Being in control of our health does take a commitment on our part to take action every day.
That action doesn’t have to be time consuming or involved but it needs to be incorporated into our lifestyle to succeed.
Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a weight in the normal range, and staying physically active will help you prevent the onset of diabetes.
Eating right is very important for health so help your senior:
- reduce portion sizes
- limit saturated fat
- eat more fresh fruits and vegetables that are deep in color
- include fiber on the menu
- make half their grains whole
- avoid candy, cakes, sweets, and desserts
- avoid sugar sweetened drinks like soda, flavored drinks
Help your senior find ways to get more active and join them for your own health!
Pick an activity they enjoy and can do regularly despite the weather or location.
Some fun ideas include:
- yoga and tai chi
- exer-games on Wii and Xbox
- walking, mall walking
- exercise class
- pickle ball or other sports
Some of these activities they can do in the comfort of their own home using YouTube or other technology.
They will enjoy it more and stick with it if they have a buddy!
Prediabetes and Diabetes Control
If your senior or you have already been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, this month is a great time to review how you are doing.
- Are you testing your blood sugar regularly and logging your results for your doctor, dietitian, or other healthcare provider?
- Are you staying physically active?
- Have you been maintaining your weight in a good range?
- Have you been following your diet plan including meals and snacks to control your blood sugar?
- Have you been to the podiatrist lately to get a foot check?
- Have you had your vision checked this year, including a dilated eye exam?
- Have you been to the dentist for preventive care of your gums?
- Do you need a session with a health professional or dietitian to get reminders to help you better control your diabetes?
Another important part of diabetes management and treatment is lowering cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high lipid levels, and tobacco use.
Get the Benefits of Treatment
If your senior is receiving Medicare benefits, they are eligible to receive diabetes care education and treatment each year.
These benefits include three hours of one-on-one counseling services with a dietitian for medical nutrition therapy (diet) the first year and two hours each year after that.
If your senior’s condition, treatment, or diagnosis changes, they may be able to get more hours of treatment with a doctor’s referral.
A doctor must prescribe these services and renew your senior’s referral yearly if continuing treatment is needed into another calendar year.
Also covered are diabetes self-management training with a diabetes educator, blood glucose monitors, test strips and lancets. Self-management education focuses on learning new self-care behaviors such as healthy eating, being active, adhering to medications, learning coping skills, and monitoring blood glucose.
Your senior only pays 20% of the Medicare-approved amount after the yearly Part B deductible.
Don’t let your senior miss out on their benefits — take advantage of health education and supplies.
Learning new information, reinforcing old information and getting back on track will help your senior handle their diabetes instead of it handling them!
Family caregivers can attend these educational sessions with their seniors in order to assist them to carry out their treatment plan.
We wish you and your senior loved ones good health to prevent diabetes or manage it if you have it!