Anti aging guide

Diabetes and Aging



What is diabetes and how to control it with proper treatments

Diabetes both accelerates age-related changes and is itself, to a certain extent, an age-related decrement of chemical balance. Diabetes is an inability to keep the blood-sugar level within the normal range. Over the age of 70, 20 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women show, an impairment of glucose homeostasis and about 10 per cent can be regarded as diabetic. A few have been diabetic since early adult life or even childhood, but most of them will have a maturity-onset type of diabetes which is especially common in obese people and is usually manageable without insulin, being controlled by diet alone or diet together with tablets. The onset may be quite symptomless or there may be a vague deterioration in the general health: sometimes there is thirst, weight loss, and a tendency to pass large quantities of urine; sometimes there may also be a susceptibility to infection particularly of the bladder, and itching around the genitalia.

If there are symptoms, treatment will probably be required, and the first step is the dietary correction of obesity. In those who are not particularly overweight, or whose symptoms persist following reduction, it is usual to prescribe a controlled diet in which, these days, most of the energy requirement is supplied in the form of carbohydrate rather than fat. The carbohydrate should be of the high-fiber, unrefined polysaccharide type to be found in wholemeal bread and biscuits, wholegrain breakfast cereals (porridge, Weetabix, Shredded Wheat), all vegetables (especially pulses and potatoes in their jackets), all fruit, and brown rice. Monosaccharides (glucose) and disaccharides (sucrose) should be avoided, which precludes syrup, honey, jam, marmalade, chocolate (including the ‘diabetic’ variety which is both high in calories and expensive), sweets, cakes, pastries, ordinary biscuits, sweet drinks, tinned fruits, and sweetened cereals. Fairly strict dietary control provides a basis for achieving a reasonably stable blood-sugar level in a substantial number of diabetics. Other diabetics require tablets which stimulate the secretion of insulin by the pancreas (sulphonylureas), and a few need a different type of oral drug as well or instead (biguanides).

Urine testing

Although patients are usually advised to test the urine regularly in order to check the control of their diabetes, the amount of sugar in the urine is often a very inaccurate guide to the blood level, and a blood-sugar measurement is advisable from time to time and is essential for those on insulin. Any acute illness is likely to disturb diabetic control, as can diuretic drugs given to disperse accumulated fluid in other conditions such as heart failure. A simple device for obtaining a drop of blood from the finger is now available, and there is a small instrument (glucometer) to be kept at home so that patients can undertake their own measurements.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - April 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm