Have you noticed a growing number of ads for diabetes medication? These medications are for people with Type 2 diabetes, although the ads don’t always specify this. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 29 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes, and many more may have it, but are not yet diagnosed. Whereas 9.3% of the general population has Type 2 diabetes, 25.9% of Americans over age 65 have it, making it a serious national health concern for seniors. Of equal concern is that the number of Type 2 cases and the number of people over sixty both continue to rise.
The long-term physical effects of diabetes can be dire, including blindness and amputation. For older adults, one of the most dangerous long-term effects is neuropathy, or the loss of feeling in the extremities.The reason neuropathy is so dangerous is that without sensation, a person doesn’t know if they have an injury, like a cut or blister. Injuries can bleed easily if an older person takes blood thinners, or can get infected without the person noticing.
These negative outcomes can be avoided with proper management. All forms of diabetes can be managed. Managing Type 2 diabetes entails: checking blood sugar daily, watching carbohydrate intake, regular exercise, taking medication or insulin and getting routine lab tests ordered by your doctor. Medicare covers additional services for people with diabetes.
Perhaps someone in your household gets diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Here’s how to help that person:
- Don’t be the “food police”. Adults need to make their own choices.
- Read labels and learn how to count carbohydrates in food and drinks.
- Set a good example by choosing healthy options, like eating vegetables and drinking water instead of soda or sugary tea.
- Be a good listener. Managing any chronic condition is stressful.
At Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, we are very good listeners. If you are struggling with Type 2 diabetes, finding insurance coverage, or coping with illness, call us.
American Diabetes Association has a free 12-month program for people who are newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Contact your health insurance provider or Medicare at: 1-800-MEDICARE, to understand your diabetes coverage for blood testing supplies and diabetic footcare.