Surveys suggest more than 25 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes. However, many are undiagnosed because some of the symptoms are similar to other less serious medical conditions. If left untreated, the disorder progresses and can cause many health complications. Family caregivers should watch for common symptoms of diabetes so their elderly loved ones can get the medical help they need.
1. Numbness & Tingling
This sensation commonly develops in the fingers, hands, legs, and feet because of increased blood sugar levels, which interfere with normal blood circulation. Initially, the numbness and tingling are minor, but as nerve involvement progresses, the symptoms worsen and become painful. Eventually, nerve damage affects muscle function, sensory organ function, and the central nervous system, which can lead to blood vessel blockages and further irreversible nerve damage.
2. Increased Voiding
Diabetic seniors experience frequent urges to urinate as the kidneys attempt to eliminate excess blood sugar. Polyuria causes seniors to eliminate 1.5 to 3 times more fluid than normal, which could lead to dehydration and, eventually, kidney damage. Excessive urination is one of the many symptoms that cause people to seek medical attention and get diagnosed.If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of elderly home care.Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
3. Unusual Weight Loss
Fast and unexplained weight loss is common in seniors with untreated diabetes. Body cells can starve because glucose doesn’t reach them to provide much-needed nourishment. Without a nutritional resource, the body burns fat stores and muscle for energy. If your loved one loses five or more pounds in less than six months without changes in diet or exercise, consult a physician.If you find it challenging to take your loved one to medical appointments and accomplish other caregiving duties, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Des Moines senior care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
4. Increased Appetite
When the cells begin starving, the body tries to compensate by increasing an individual’s appetite. However, the body doesn’t absorb the necessary nutrition. Seniors who have increased appetites and weight loss may have diabetes.
5. Visual Disturbances
Blurry vision is another symptom commonly associated with the onset of diabetes. The spike in blood sugar levels combined with impaired blood circulation and subsequent nerve damage can cause vision loss. Diabetic adults have a 40 percent higher risk of developing glaucoma and a 60 percent higher risk of developing cataracts. The longer diabetes goes untreated, the higher the risk. Seniors should schedule regular eye exams.
6. Dry, Irritated Skin
When blood circulation slows, oil and sweat glands cannot function normally, and the skin can become dry, flaky, itchy, and irritated, especially when a senior is also experiencing dehydration from polyuria. Diabetic seniors are also more likely to develop various skin disorders, including bacterial or fungal infections and nail abnormalities. Wounds and skin problems also take more time to heal and often get worse when a senior has diabetes.
Insufficient energy caused by a lack of nutritional resources can lead to fatigue. High levels of blood glucose thicken the blood, which interferes with oxygen and nutrient delivery. Unexplained tiredness can also occur when blood sugar drops too low. Older adults with diabetes and other serious health issues can benefit from professional in-home care. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Des Moines 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. Trust your loved one’s care to the professionals at Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438.