Gloria, aged 78, had always been good about seeing her doctor regularly. That’s why she was surprised to learn that test results at her annual physical showed she had prediabetes. Her daughter, Ann, was surprised by this, too. However, when the two of them discussed the condition and what to do next, they realized that Gloria had had some symptoms of prediabetes over the past year that they had missed.
Many people miss the symptoms of prediabetes in an older adult. Sometimes they are mistaken for normal parts of aging. However, when you know more about the condition and the signs of prediabetes, it can help you to get your older family member help sooner, so that they can prevent prediabetes from turning into full-blown diabetes.
What is Prediabetes?
You may be more familiar with prediabetes as “borderline diabetes,” the term once used for the condition. Prediabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels are elevated but no so high that they can be diagnosed with diabetes.
Essentially, prediabetes is a warning sign of diabetes. It does not have to progress into type 2 diabetes. There are lifestyle changes that can lower your older family member’s blood sugar levels and prevent them from getting diabetes.
What are the Signs of Prediabetes?
Sometimes there are no noticeable signs of prediabetes. That said, the best way to find out if your aging relative has prediabetes is to have them tested for it. However, in some cases, you might notice the following signs of prediabetes, which can also indicate prediabetes has become type 2 diabetes:
- Darkened patches of skin, especially around the knuckles, neck, knees, armpits, and elbows.
- Being thirstier than usual.
- Urinating often.
- Blurry vision.
What Can Be Done About Prediabetes?
Learning that an older family member has prediabetes shouldn’t be viewed as a curse. Instead, encourage the senior to look at it as an opportunity. Knowing they have prediabetes gives them the opportunity to take control of their health and prevent a progression to type 2 diabetes.
The doctor will probably recommend making lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes, such as changing the older adult’s diet and exercising more. Home care can help with these changes as well as other aspects of the senior’s life. Home care providers can make the healthy meals your older family member needs to help them control their blood sugar. In addition, a home care provider can do things like go for walks with the senior, drive them to an exercise class, or monitor them at home while they exercise, which can further reduce blood sugar levels.