Seniors with diabetes are at risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular conditions. Studies suggest diabetes also increases a senior’s likelihood of developing dementia. Learn about the connection between diabetes and dementia and the preventative measures that can reduce their risks.
Diabetes Often Leads to Hypoglycemia
Many diabetics have low blood sugar because diabetes undermines the body’s ability to produce and regulate insulin. As a key hormone, insulin assists with the absorption of glucose. When insulin is unable to perform this function, the body doesn’t get enough glucose, and blood sugar levels drop. While the medications diabetics use to increase their insulin levels help with regulation, they don’t always prevent hypoglycemic events. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can also be triggered by skipping meals and failing to exercise. When this happens, diabetics often experience symptoms such as headaches, shaking, fatigue, dizziness, and sweating.
Diabetes is one of the many serious health issues that can negatively impact overall quality of life. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Hypoglycemia Impacts Brain Function
When a diabetic experiences hypoglycemia too frequently, it can cause long-term damage. The brain is fueled by glucose, and when glucose levels drop, cognitive function is affected. Severe hypoglycemia can have a permanent neuronal impact, which may lead to cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Diabetes & Dementia Can Create a Vicious Cycle
Diabetics who have low blood sugar levels are more likely to experience cognitive decline, and seniors who already have dementia are likely to experience hypoglycemia, which can worsen their cognitive health. To break out of this cycle and boost health and wellbeing, preventing hypoglycemia is essential.
Seniors can reduce their likelihood of experiencing several age-related health conditions by opting for professional in-home care. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Edmonton Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.
Caregivers Can Take Preventative Measures against Diabetes
There are many ways for caregivers to reduce the risk of hypoglycemic events. They should discourage seniors from doing things that lead to low blood sugar, such as skipping meals, drinking too much alcohol, exercising without eating, and forgetting to eat carbohydrates. Caregivers should also know the warning signs of hypoglycemia, such as dizziness, frequent headaches, impaired vision, frequent urination, and thirst.
When seniors show signs of low blood sugar, caregivers should give them foods or beverages that raise blood glucose levels. To stabilize blood glucose levels, seniors should ingest 15 to 20 grams of sugars or carbohydrates, which can take the form of peanut butter, crackers, dried fruit, or juice.
Caregivers can also increase how frequently they measure blood sugar levels. Seniors who are at great risk for hypoglycemic events can have their blood sugar tested once every two hours, giving caregivers time to act when blood sugar starts to drop.
Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing daily activities. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality homecare services. Edmonton families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. To create a customized in-home care plan, call us at (780) 490-7337.