“Today, almost 30 million people in America are living with diabetes. Diabetes is actually a group of diseases; the most common by far is type 2 diabetes, in which the body has trouble using insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. The older we get, the more likely we are to develop type 2 diabetes.
“Doctors know that managing diabetes in older adults can be a tricky balancing act. If a senior’s blood sugar is too high, they can suffer damage to their heart, kidneys, nerves, eyes, bones and feet. Diabetes can lead to blindness, amputations and even death. Diabetes raises the risk of stroke, and causes problems with thinking and memory by decreasing the flow of blood in the brain.
“On the other hand, if a senior is taking too much medication, this can lead to hypoglycemia — blood sugar that is too low, which can cause dizziness, loss of consciousness, confusion, personality changes and falls. So, the doctor will carefully monitor a senior’s blood sugar and adjust the dosage of medications accordingly.
“Meanwhile, the patient must constantly remember to check their blood sugar, take their medications, watch their diet … it can all seem overwhelming. And sometimes, despite following the doctor’s orders, their blood sugar numbers are still too high. The stress and anxiety can lead to ‘diabetes distress’ — defined by the American Diabetes Association as ‘a reaction to living with a stressful, complex disease that is often difficult to manage.'”
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