Tips & Facts About Diabetes Mellitus

In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, had been diagnosed with diabetes. Of the 29.1 million, 21.0 million were diagnosed, and 8.1 million were undiagnosed. This epidemic effects the senior community at a very high 25.9 percent (or 11.8 million American seniors ages 65 and up, both diagnosed and undiagnosed).

An alarming 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States per a 2010 study, reporting a total of 234,051 death certificates listing diabetes as an underlying or contributing cause of death.

The cost of diabetes has been reported at $245 billion annually in the United States in 2012 – $176 billion for direct medical costs and another $69 billion in reduced productivity.

With such a distressing impact on our community it is important to remember to check your glucose and keep an eye out for signs of hypoglycemia and/or hyperglycemia.

If you notice that you have any of these signs of Hypoglycemia, get a medical checkup right away:

• Shakiness
• Nervousness
• Anxiety
• Irritability
• Confusion
• Fast heartbeat
• Sleepiness
• Blurred vision
• Headache
• Weakness

These signs of Hyperglycemia should also prompt a visit to your doctor to get an assessment:

• Frequent urination
• Increase thirst
• Blurred vision
• Headache
• Fatigue
• Dry mouth
• Shortness of breath
• Confusion
• Coma

If you are diagnosed, you should be regularly checking your blood Glucose levels:

• Blood glucose (blood sugar) is the main tool you must check your diabetes control.
• Keeping a log of your results is vital.
• When you bring this record to your health care provider, they’ll get a good picture of your body’s response to your diabetes care plan.

If you are diagnosed with Diabetes, it’s also important that you take special care of your feet, as you are at a high risk serious ulcers. You’ll want to avoid them by doing the following:

• Wash your feet daily with soap and water.
• Dry your feet well especially between the toes.
• Apply lotion to feet but not between the toes.
• Inspect your feet every day, and seek care early for blisters, cuts, sores, discoloration, and for foot injury.
• Go to Podiatry regularly for foot care.
• Change your socks daily.
• Never walk barefoot indoors or outdoors.
• Examine your shoes daily for cracks, stones, nails which may irritate feet.
• Make sure your health care provider checks your feet at least once a year.
• Call or see your provider if you have cuts or breaks in the skin, or have an ingrown nail.
• Notify health care provider with any foot changes color, shape, or just feels different.

Following the above tips will help you identify, manage, and care for some important factors associated with diabetes. It is essential for you to ensure that your elderly loved ones stay safe and healthy. If you need assistance, our in-home caregivers would be happy to share the duty of lending you a hand.