Senior Care Blog Wayland and Weston

Type 2 Diabetes Complications in the Elderly

By Denise Roskamp

According to many studies, one in four Americans over the age of 65 have Type 2 diabetes. This type is often caused by being overweight, and by not taking proper care of one’s health. Thusly, it can not only be managed, but it can possibly even be cured with the proper care and lifestyle changes.

If you are responsible for the elderly care of an aging loved one, you are probably pretty knowledgeable about most of the age-related conditions that could occur. You are probably also an expert in their diabetes care, if they have Type 2 diabetes, and you know how best to help them manage this condition.

What you might not know, though, is that Type 2 diabetes can cause a lot of complications if it is not managed correctly. Listed below are several common diabetes complications that you should be on the lookout for if you know or suspect that the elderly loved one in your care has diabetes. Most are caused by extended periods of high blood sugar, which can adversely affect other organs.

  • Hearing loss – The likelihood of hearing loss is doubled in seniors who have Type 2 diabetes that is not well-controlled. High blood sugar for extended periods of time can damage many of one’s bodily organs, and the ears are no exception.
  • Vision problems – High blood sugar for prolonged periods of time can damage some of the blood vessels in the retina. This causes the vessels to leak their blood into the eye, which causes vision problems such as cloudy or blurry vision. This is actually one of the leading causes of blindness in America, so it is important to manage your loved one’s blood sugar levels to avoid these issues.
  • Higher risk for dementia – Studies have shown that high blood sugar, if left unchecked, can also cause some serious damage to the neurons in the brain. This damage leaves one open to many conditions that result in cognitive impairment, such as dementia or other cognitive impairments. These cognitive impairments then lead to a decreased ability to manage one’s own diabetes, which can then lead to even more problems.
  • Nerve damage – Aging itself can cause many mobility problems, but diabetes can add to these by damaging the nerves, especially in the feet. This can make it very painful or difficult to walk, which can make it next to impossible to get around.

The important thing to take away from this list is that every single one of these conditions can most likely be avoided if one takes proper care of themselves. If you notice that your loved one is having a hard time managing their Type 2 diabetes, you need to step in and help them. If you don’t, they may soon have even more problems to deal with, and that it something that neither of you wants!

If you are unsure of how to help your loved one with their Type 2 diabetes, there are many resources and support groups online to help you become more knowledgeable about the condition. You can also simply talk to your loved one’s doctor about what you can do to make managing their diabetes easier.