An older adult has prediabetes when their blood sugar is higher than normal, but not so high that they can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is something to be concerned about because it can progress into diabetes, which is a serious condition. However, older adults can avoid developing prediabetes by avoiding these 4 things that can lead to the condition.
#1: Excess Weight
One of the biggest risk factors for prediabetes is being overweight or obese. Excess fatty tissue makes the body more resistant to insulin, the hormone that helps the body to use sugar to fuel the cells. This is especially true when there is extra fat around the abdomen.
Elder care aides can help seniors to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight by preparing healthy meals that include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. An elder care provider can serve foods in proper portion sizes, which may reduce the number of calories the senior eats.
#2: Lack of Physical Activity
The less time your older family member spends being physically active, the more likely they are to become prediabetic. Exercise is important for maintaining a healthy weight. It also helps the body to use up sugar in the bloodstream to produce energy and increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
Elder care providers can increase the physical activity of older adults by going for walks with them or simply helping them to feel safer while exercising, knowing they will have help if they need it.
Smoking puts seniors at risk for all kinds of terrible health problems. Prediabetes is one of them. If your aging relative smokes, encourage them to speak to their doctor about quitting.
Having a strong support system can be an important part of quitting smoking. Elder care can be part of that system by cheering on the older adult and distracting them when they have the urge to smoke.
#4: Sleep Apnea
Experts say that people who have a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea are at a higher risk for prediabetes. Sleep apnea causes the body to be less responsive to insulin. Sleep apnea causes people to temporarily stop breathing while they sleep. If you notice this in your aging relative, have them tested for the condition.
Sleep apnea is often treated with a CPAP machine. Elder care aides can help the older adult to properly put on the mask at night and assist with keeping it clean.