What is Diabetes? And, how can In-Home Care help seniors who have diabetes?

The name diabetes mellitus does not just refer to one condition, but a collection of diseases; these impact the ways that the body makes use of glucose or blood sugar. With diabetes, the blood glucose levels are too high. Glucose is necessary for health because it is a vital energy source for those cells that muscles and tissues consist of; also, it is the main fuel source for the brain.

Insulin is also a key factor in diabetes. It is a hormone that aids the glucose in getting into the cells so they can receive the proper energy. In the less common type of diabetes, type 1, the body simply does not make insulin. The more common variety, type 2, gives the body difficulty in making or using insulin well. With insufficient insulin levels, the glucose remains in the blood.


Prevalence of Diabetes

Eight percent of the American population, or 24 million Americans, have been diagnosed with diabetes. Of those cases, somewhere between 90% to 95% are type 2. Diabetes is quite common among the older part of the population. In fact, nearly a quarter of older people aged 60 years and more have diabetes.


Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes has varying symptoms depending on how high the blood glucose levels are elevated. In fact, some people, particularly those who are prediabetic, which means having elevated blood sugar levels but not so high as to be considered diabetic, or those with type 2 diabetes, may not experience initial symptoms. In type 1 diabetes, the symptoms have a tendency to strike quickly and more severely.

Symptoms of both types of diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Ketones within the urine
  • Sores that heal slowly, if at all
  • Frequent infections, including skin, gums, and vaginal infections


Type 1 Diabetes Causes

As yet, the precise cause of type 1 diabetes is not known. What research has found is that the immune system attacks, destroying the pancreas’s insulin-producing cells. This leaves the patient with little, if any, insulin. Then, instead of glucose being carried into the cells, it builds up within the bloodstream.


Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes Causes

In these cases, the cells start to resist the action of insulin, as well as the pancreas being incapable of making enough insulin in order to overcome this resistance. Instead of glucose moving into the cells where it is necessary for energy, the sugar builds up within the bloodstream instead, increasing the blood sugar ratio.


Risk Factors for Type 1 Diabetes

While the precise cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet known, there are factors that might signal a greater risk.

These include:

  • Family history: If a parent or sibling is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the risk of being diagnosed with it increases.
  • Environmental factors: Such circumstances as exposure to viral illnesses might well play a role in this type of diabetes.
  • Geography: Certain areas of the world, such as Sweden and Finland, have greater rates of type 1 diabetes.


Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes Risk Factors

Researchers are still seeking to understand why some develop these conditions while others who experience the same factors do not. It is, however, clear that some factors increase the likelihood.

These include:

  • Weight: The greater the amount of fatty tissue a person has, the more resistant to insulin the cells become.
  • Lack of activity: The more inactive a person is, the greater their risk for type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. Physical activity does not only aid in weight control, it also utilizes glucose as energy and causes the cells to be more insulin-sensitive.
  • Family history: If a sibling or parent has type 2 diabetes, the risk increases for developing it as well.
  • Age: With increased age comes an increased risk for these conditions.
  • High blood pressure: If blood pressure is greater than 140 over 90, there is a link to increased risk of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.


Complications of Diabetes

There are gradually developing long-term complications of diabetes; the longer you have the disease, and the less under control the blood glucose is, the greater the risk of potential complications. Diabetes complications can eventually be disabling or life-threatening. For example, diabetes greatly increases the risk of varying cardiovascular problems such as atherosclerosis and angina.

Neuropathy is another complication; this is nerve damage. Nephropathy or kidney damage can also occur. Retinopathy or eye damage, foot damage, hearing impairments, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression are all potential complications of diabetes.


Home Health Care Basics

At its heart, home health care means precisely what it appears to: care that is provided in the home of the patient. Elderly care providers can offer such assistance that includes skilled nursing care and in home therapy services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy. Home health care can also consist of non-medical but skilled care; this includes medical social services as well as assistance with tasks for daily living that is provided by a home health aide who is highly qualified. This type of care is unique as a setting because the care is provided within the home and the actual care given is generally more convenient, less expensive, and thoroughly effective.


Home Health Care and Stress

Receiving care in an official facility is not only more expensive, but it is also more stressful for the patient.

This is especially true for the elderly, who are used to certain settings and ways. Home health care is stress-relieving as it is received in the familiar settings of home over which the patient has control and in the possessions of which the patient is comfortable. Home is a better place to pursue stress-reducing hobbies as well while gaining daily living assistance. The benefits are many to receiving care in the home setting.


Home Health Care for Diabetics

Daily living assistance for diabetics looks much like home health care for any other elderly patient, except that it is specified to particular diets and treatments for the specific complications the patient may have developed. Diabetes nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease nutrition, for example, might need to be planned together. Alzheimer’s disease nutrition is less focused on the blood sugar ratio than the diabetes plan but is still important. Live in care providers might also need to know about locating physical therapy near me or about memory repair protocol or the medication arthritis requires.

Live in care providers do more than offer up basic in home health care like timely medication arthritis needs or follow memory repair protocol for those with memory problem complications. They might offer bathing help, help to prepare or eat food, or help with in home therapy services exercises instead of having to look for physical therapy near me and leaving the residence. Elderly care providers also can help check the feet daily as is important for diabetics; any tiny wound or cut can turn into a sore that does not want to heal.

For emergency situations, time to home is an important consideration for home helpers giving caregiver personal care. The time to home duration can be an essential factor for elderly peace of mind. Caregiver personal care is provided by skilled home helpers for diabetics or other medical conditions to offer the best of in home health care.