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Top 6 Risk Factors for Diabetes in Seniors

By Nick Paciello, 9:00 am on

The likelihood for developing type 2 diabetes increases with age. Some of the risk factors for this disease can be mitigated by making healthy lifestyle choices.

Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust in Henderson, NV, senior home care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life.

Here are 6 of the top diabetes risk factors for seniors. 

1. Weight

People with a high body mass index (BMI) face a greater risk for diabetes because fatty tissue is more resistant to insulin than muscle. To lose weight, seniors should adopt a healthier diet and consume foods such as high-fiber cereals, fruits, vegetables, poultry, and fish. Healthy fats like nuts, milk, avocados, and fish oils can also be added to your loved one’s diet.

2. Family History

If seniors have close family members with type 2 diabetes, their risk of diabetes increases. Your loved one should discuss his or her family history with doctors. The medical practitioner can then create health plans to help lower your loved one’s risk levels. 

3. Ethnicity

Scientists aren’t sure why people of certain racial backgrounds are more likely to develop diabetes than others. Seniors who are of African American, Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Asian American, Native American, or Latino descent are at greater risk for diabetes. 

4. Inactivity

Inactivity is one of the most important diabetes risk factors. Physical activity helps lower weight, increases cellular sensitivity to insulin, and helps the body maintain healthy glucose levels. 

Seniors should exercise as a preventative measure against diabetes. Physical activity can take many forms, ranging from a walk around the block to strength training. Older adults who want to minimize their risk for diabetes should consider exercising at least 30 minutes daily. 

Seniors with limited mobility should consider chair yoga, water aerobics classes, and other activities specifically designed for them. As a caregiver, you may have to assist your aging loved one with exercise.

Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Henderson, NV, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. 

5. Smoking

Smoking increases the risk of diabetes because it raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can lead to this disease. Seniors who enjoy smoking will likely have a hard time quitting this habit. If your loved one is serious about lowering his or her diabetes risk, giving up smoking is essential. 

For some seniors, it’s best to quit gradually. Inhalers, patches, and nicotine gum can help them give up smoking. If they need positive reinforcement, they should try attending local group counseling. 

6. Gender

Men are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women. Male seniors should closely monitor their glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, as they are linked to the development of diabetes. While senior women are less likely to develop diabetes than men, possibly due to their distribution of body fat, they should still be vigilant about the diabetes risk factors. 

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Henderson, NV, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. To find out how our caregivers can help your loved one age in safety and comfort, call us at (702) 527-7723.