Aging may affect diabetes. Learn what you can do to age well with diabetes.
Aging can take a toll on the body. It affects the brain, muscles, and organs in various ways. The
bones become less dense, which can increase the risk of broken bones. Muscles lose flexibility
and strength. A lack of muscle strength can affect coordination and mobility and lead to falls.
Your metabolism slows down. When your metabolism is slower, it can make it more difficult to
When you have diabetes, the effects of aging can make things more difficult. Being less mobile
may make it harder to exercise, which can affect blood sugar levels. While you can’t turn back
the hands of time, you can slow the effects of aging by making smart choices along the way.
Here are some tips.
Keep Blood Glucose Levels Within The Normal Range
It is essential to keep blood sugar levels within the normal range to prevent complications of
diabetes. Ask your doctor how many times you should check your blood sugar a day. Monitoring
your glucose levels will help you gauge how well you are managing your diabetes. Managing
your diabetes well will help you ward off health issues that could affect your well-being as you
Eat a Healthy Diet
Ask for a referral from your doctor to see a registered dietician. A dietician can help you develop
a diabetes meal plan that is right for you. Generally, aim to eat a diet that is rich in vegetables,
fruits, and whole grains. Try to avoid consuming too many processed and carbohydrate-rich
Stay Well Hydrated
As you age, your kidney function decreases and you are less able to conserve fluids. Plus,
things like medications, infections, and illnesses can all increase the chance of dehydration. So,
make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Aim for around eight 8-ounce glasses a day. If you
are drinking enough water and have symptoms of dehydration, talk to your doctor. They may
want to prescribe a rehydration solution.
Signs of dehydration:
• Feeling very thirsty
• Feeling faint
• Rapid heartbeat
As you can see many of these symptoms overlap with diabetes, so it can be difficult to tell if the
symptoms are from diabetes or dehydration. If you are not sure, it is always a good idea to talk
with your primary care physician.
Deal With Stress
Everyone experiences stress from time to time. Some anxiety is normal. However, if you
continuously feel worried or it affects your sleep, eating or other areas of your life, then you
need to take action. You can try relaxation skills like deep breathing or meditation. Talking with
a therapist can be very helpful for anxiety. If you find yourself coping with anxiety or stress in
unhealthy ways like drinking too much alcohol or overeating, then it is a sign that you need to
reach out for help.
It is essential to stay connected with others — especially as you age. Conversation and
friendship are the keys to staying emotionally healthy and warding off loneliness. Consider
joining a local senior community center. Many offer fitness classes and social activities. A pet
can be a great companion if you live by yourself. Pets provide social companionship and can
Talk To Your Doctor
You can play an active role in your healthcare by talking with your doctor. Keep track of your
test results and medications. Learn about the side effects. That way, you can report them early
and work with your physician to find alternatives. Find out what kinds of things you can do to
manage your diabetes. Ask lots of questions and if you have concerns, don’t wait to get help.
The longer you wait, the higher the chance of complications.
Get Enough Sleep
It can be harder to fall asleep and stay asleep as you age. Changes to sleep patterns are a
regular part of the aging process. However, this does not mean that you don’t need as much
sleep as you age. Research has demonstrated that sleep needs do not change as you age.
Therefore, you need just as much sleep at age 80 as at age 40. Here are some general sleep
• Keep the room dark and cool. A room temperature of between 60 and 67 degrees is
ideal for sleep.
• Use a sleep mask. This can help block out noise and light.
• Consider a “white noise” machine for sleep.
• Don’t read on an electronic device at bedtime
• Practice a relaxing bedtime routine every night. You might try practicing bedtime yoga or
relaxation. These exercises can help promote sleep.
• Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
• Talk to your doctor. Medical conditions can often impact sleep. Make sure your doctor
rules them out.
Make Your Home Safer
Many people with diabetes have mobility issues. These can result from nerve damage and other
diabetes-related problems. Consider your mobility and make changes to your home to make it
safer if you need it.
• Install grab bars and other safety devices
• Clear clutter and rugs from floors
• Use rubber-backed bath mats
• Improve lighting
• Install a ramp if you use a walker
• Check all of your smoke alarms regularly
Aging does not have to equal poor health. Aging well with diabetes starts with proper blood
glucose control. Aside from that, the above lifestyle changes can go a long way towards staying
healthy in the Golden Years.