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6 Common Risk Factors for Diabetes in the Elderly

In the United States, an estimated 25 million people have diabetes. The disorder claims more than 230,000 lives in the country each year. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Las Vegas families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Although diabetes is relatively common in aging adults, it is also a preventable disease. Understanding the root causes of diabetes can help seniors stave off this health condition. Here are 6 common diabetes risk factors for the elderly.

1. Age

As seniors progress in age, their risk of diabetes increases. Researchers believe that as people age, the ability of the pancreas to produce and pump insulin becomes impaired. Over time, body cells may also become more resistant to available insulin.

2. Family History

Seniors with a family history of diabetes have a greater risk of developing the disorder. Diabetes is also more prevalent in seniors of African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native American descent. However, having a family history of diabetes does not guarantee an individual will develop this health condition. Seniors can keep diabetes at bay by making healthier lifestyle choices.

3. Obesity

Being excessively overweight is considered the top risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 60 million adults in the U.S. are obese. Obesity leads to excessive body fat, which affects the body’s ability to produce insulin. If your loved one is currently overweight, encourage him or her to make lifestyle changes.

A Las Vegas home caregiver can help your elderly loved one manage his or her health in a variety of ways. If your loved one needs encouragement to exercise more often, eat healthier foods, or socialize on a regular basis, an in-home caregiver can address these and many other health-related concerns.

4. Inactivity

Adults who do not regularly engage in some form of physical activity are more likely to become obese and diabetic. Maintaining a healthy weight prevents insulin resistance. Routine exercise not only decreases the likelihood of obesity in seniors, it also reduces blood sugar and makes insulin absorption more effective. 

5. Unhealthy Diet

Unhealthy eating leads to excess weight gain. Diets rich in sugar and fat lead to obesity, and approximately 90 percent of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Encourage your loved one to eat more lean meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. 

6. High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol 

Elevated cholesterol and hypertension damage blood vessels in the heart and can lead to obesity and changes in metabolism. The onset of diabetes causes further cardiovascular damage. Maintaining a healthy weight by staying physically active and eating a proper diet prevents many health conditions, including diabetes. If your loved one has high cholesterol and hypertension, make sure he or she takes the prescribed medications on time.

For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. In Las Vegas, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break. To create a custom care plan for your aging loved one, give us a call at (702) 550-3185.