People react very different after receiving a diagnosis of diabetes. From one extreme to another: they brush it off, deciding that medication will take care of the problem, and proceed to live their life just as before; or they live their life in fear of one of the many complications that can result. As with most things in life, the middle road is often the best response: change the lifestyle habits that brought it about, keep your blood sugar in check, and make the most of life.
The complications of diabetes can be severe. The longer you have uncontrolled blood sugar, the greater the chances of developing one of these. Many of these diseases are due to damage that occurs in arteries and capillaries from the increase in blood sugar which causes an inflammatory response and, ultimately, atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, occurs when fatty plaques are deposited along the wall of the artery.
Areas of the body that can be affected by arterial damage include:
When damage occurs to the tiny capillaries that nourish nerves, diabetes can cause nerve damage also known as neuropathy. The most common area of the body that this occurs in is the feet. This leads to pain, tingling, burning and loss of feeling. If left untreated, it gradually spreads and can lead to gangrene and amputation.
Keeping Complications at Bay
Keeping blood sugar at a healthy level diminishes the chance of developing all complications. Often, this can be accomplished by a change in lifestyle which includes an increase in exercise and a health-conscious diet. There are several types of dietary recommendations for those with diabetes. Most are centered on an abundance of fruits and non-starchy vegetables, whole-grains, nuts, seeds, beans and low-fat dairy.
The Mediterranean diet is growing in popularity and the carbohydrate-counting diet has been associated with diabetes for many years. A dietician can let your parent know how many carbohydrates they can have during the course of the day. With carbohydrate counter in hand, your parent or those caring for tem can determine the appropriate diet. Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Foods near to their whole state are always the best choices. This includes whole-grains as compared to enriched flour and brown rice as compared to white rice.
Senior Care Provider
A senior care provider can assist your loved one with the daily activities of living. They can go grocery shopping and prepare diabetic-friendly meals. They can promote exercise by joining them for walks or providing transportation to the local senior community center for exercise classes. They can provide that all-important companionship so important to an aging parent.
For more information about how the caregivers at La Jolla Nurses Homecare can help your aging parents remain in their own homes, call 858-454-9339. We are a home care agency providing quality and affordable senior care in La Costa, CA, and the surrounding communities.