Diabetes is a common health problem for older people. Currently, over 40% of individuals in the U.S. over the age of 65 have diabetes. While this is true, if you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you can prevent or at least delay the onset of this condition. In addition to leading a healthy life, it’s also necessary to normalize your critical health numbers, including your blood cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight.
Understanding How and Why Diabetes Occurs
When you eat, your body begins the digestion process. Much of the food is converted into glucose, which is a type of sugar your cells use for energy. Your body will also produce a hormone that is called insulin. It is the insulin that ensures the right amount of glucose reaches your bloodstream, which then carries it to cells throughout your body. If something goes wrong along the way, you develop diabetes.
Diabetes occurs if the total amount of sugar present in your blood is too high. This can happen for several reasons. For example, your body is no longer produces enough insulin, which means you have type 1 diabetes, or because your body doesn’t respond to the insulin created, which is type 2 diabetes. In some cases you may experience both. The additional sugar in your blood can cause damage to other parts of your body, specifically the kidneys or eyes. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, there is no cure for it; however, taking the right steps can help you manage the condition.
The Right Nutrition is Key
One of the best things you can do when trying to manage diabetes is to make healthy food choices. This includes things like controlling your portion sizes and reading the labels on the foods you consume. It’s also necessary to limit the amount of simple carbohydrates that you eat, as foods such as jellies, candy, soda, cake, and anything with large amounts of white sugar can increase your blood glucose.
Choose Whole Grain Pasta, Cereals, and Breads
Whole grains have more fiber and will take longer to digest than refined starches and white flour. Whole grains include things like barley, oats, brown rice, and whole wheat flour. These things can help you maintain steadier blood sugar levels.
Eat Low-Calories Produce
Try to choose deep-colored or bright vegetables and fruits, such as sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, red or green lettuce, and spinach. These are all better choices than iceberg lettuce or white potatoes.
Another tip for living with and managing diabetes is to get moving. When you increase your levels of physical activity, you can control your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. This can also help you continue living independently. If it has been a while since you have exercised, be sure to speak to your healthcare provider before you start a new program.
While diabetes isn’t something that will ever be cured, you can manage the symptoms with lifestyle changes. Your doctor may also provide you with prescription medications and test your glucose levels regularly to help manage the condition and keep you as healthy as possible.