One in every four people over age 60 has diabetes in the United States, according to the American Diabetes Association. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, is unique in that it’s largely affected by lifestyle factors, many of which can be controlled through preventative measures, including these suggested by Santa Rosa elder care professionals.
1. Eat Clean
Highly processed carbs and refined sugars, in particular, significantly increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a Harvard study. Seniors can improve their diet and naturally balance blood sugar levels by opting for:
- Bright colored fruits and green, leafy veggies
- Fish rich in healthy fats and omega-3s
- Leaner cuts of pork and beef and lean meats like turkey
- Baked and broiled foods instead of anything fried
- Low-fat dairy products
2. Stay Active
Remaining active helps naturally reduce HDL (“bad”) cholesterol, improves circulation, strengthens muscles and bones, and keeps key vital statistics in check. Seniors need about an hour and a half of aerobic activity per week to stay healthy, according to the World Health Organization.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is the top lifestyle risk factor for type 2 diabetes. A healthy body weight for seniors varies based on activity level and height. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an acceptable BMI (body mass index) ranges from 18.5 to 24.9.
4. Have Regular Checkups
Going to the doctor for periodic checkups means any warning signs that may indicate type 2 diabetes can be spotted early. Developing slowly, diabetes symptoms can include frequent urination, increased thirst, vision problems, and slow healing of sores or cuts.
Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age. Seniors, in particular, can experience a wide range of related issues if the condition goes undetected or untreated. Taking preventative steps sooner rather than later can allow seniors to enjoy a more productive quality of life.
For some seniors, maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes more challenging with age. Find the support your loved one needs by calling Home Care Assistance at (707) 843.4368. While we are known for our comprehensive Alzheimer’s care in Santa Rosa, we also offer part-time and live-in care for seniors, helping with everything from preparing nutritious meals to providing mobility support. Reach out today. We are here to help.