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Prediabetes In Older Adults: What to Know

Prediabetes In Older Adults: What to Know

Our risk for type 2 diabetes is constantly increasing as our bodies age. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and occurs when your body doesn’t use insulin properly. It’s a long-term condition that must be managed. An estimated 33 percent of adults aged 65 or older have diabetes. And almost half of older adults — 65 and older — have prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What is Prediabetes?

First off, don’t let the “pre” fool you. Prediabetes is a real and serious health condition that must be addressed. It is a phase that precedes diabetes and describes when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

It’s important to know whether or not you are considered prediabetic, as you are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Both diabetes and prediabetes are diagnosed based on laboratory test results. Roughly 96 million adults, more than one in three, have prediabetes, with more than 80 percent unaware they have it.

It’s possible to have prediabetes for years without having any noticeable symptoms. This is often why prediabetes in older adults goes undetected. It’s usually not until another serious health concern arises that brings attention to it.

Diabetes affects every major organ in your body. As a result, many people with diabetes develop major complications that can lead to kidney disease, blindness, and nerve damage, often resulting in the amputation of a toe, foot, or leg. This is why it’s vital to get screened for prediabetes, thus, to prevent diabetes!

Identifying prediabetes in older adults can be difficult, but here are five warning signs not to overlook.

older adult woman suffering from fatigue due to prediabetes.

Blurry Vision

Sure, our vision can change as we get older, but if you’re experiencing unusual blurriness, talk to your doctor right away. When blood sugar levels fluctuate, it can cause blurred vision and difficulty focusing. When this occurs, limit your sugar, and add protein, such as nuts, seeds, and lean meat, to your diet.

Increased Thirst

When there is an increase in glucose, your kidneys are forced to work overtime to rid the body of it. As a result, the excess glucose is eliminated through your urine, which ends up dragging fluids away from your body and tissues. This ultimately leads to dehydration, resulting in increased thirst. If you’re experiencing increased thirst, avoid sugary drinks, which can increase blood sugar levels and dehydration. Opt for water instead to rehydrate.

Extreme Fatigue

Prediabetes causes insulin resistance in older adults. When this happens, the body doesn’t respond normally to insulin and can no longer turn glucose into energy. This can leave you feeling exhausted and worn out. If you’re feeling zapped of energy, monitor your blood sugar throughout the day and make the necessary changes to your diet and exercise routine.

Longer Healing Times

If you have a sore that seems to be taking longer than usual to heal, that is a definite warning sign for prediabetes in older adults. High blood sugar levels can affect your ability to heal. Even something as simple as a paper cut can take weeks to heal. This, unfortunately, also increases the risk of infection.

Unexplained Weight Fluctuations

Even though many of us would love to lose a few pounds with minimal effort, unexplained weight loss could be a red flag when combined with other prediabetes symptoms. Weight loss occurs when the body burns fat due to the lack of energy. Although, some people gain weight as a result of low blood sugar because of increased hunger.

Contact a VIPcare Provider to Discuss Your Prediabetes Risk

Prediabetes is a warning sign to change your lifestyle. With a balanced diet and proper exercise routine, you can keep diabetes at bay. But if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t wait. Acknowledge the sign and schedule an appointment with your provider to get screened. It could just save your life!