What Does it Mean to Have Prediabetes?

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When Albert, age 72, went for his annual physical, his test results revealed that he had prediabetes. He reported this to his son, John, who was his primary family caregiver. John didn’t really understand. Did his dad have diabetes or not? And, if not, was there a way to keep him from getting diabetes?

If your older family member has been diagnosed with prediabetes, you may have these same questions. Knowing more about prediabetes may help you to assist your older family member to make the changes they need to in order to protect their health.

About Prediabetes

Having prediabetes means that your older family member has a higher than normal blood sugar level, but not so high that they are diabetic. However, it can mean that the damage done to tissues and organs by diabetes has already begun.

Prediabetes doesn’t typically have noticeable symptoms. Instead, the only way to know about it is to have blood sugar tested by a doctor. One visible sign that could indicate prediabetes, though, are patches of skin that are darker than others. They usually occur on the knuckles, knees, neck, armpits, and elbows.

If prediabetes progresses to type 2 diabetes, the senior may experience symptoms such as:

  • Being thirstier than normal.
  • Urinating often.
  • Being very hungry.
  • Fatigue.
  • Blurred vision.

The good news about prediabetes is that it doesn’t have to turn into type 2 diabetes. Instead, it can be a wake up call, allowing the older adult to make the necessary changes to prevent diabetes.

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Diabetes

Preventing prediabetes from progressing to diabetes is a matter of making lifestyle changes. Some changes that experts recommend are:

  • Healthy Diet: Making changes to a healthier diet, such as eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help with lowering blood sugar. If you’re uncertain of the types of changes that need to be made, the older adult can request to be referred to a dietician for assistance.
  • Exercise: Seniors should try to exercise at least 30 minutes per day on 5 days of the week or more.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Manage Other Conditions: If your aging relative has high blood pressure or high cholesterol, help them to follow the doctor’s advice for managing those conditions.

Elderly care can also help with preventing prediabetes from turning into diabetes. An elderly care provider can prepare healthy meals. They can also assist the older adult to exercise more, such as by taking walks with them or monitoring them while they exercise at home. In addition, elderly care providers can encourage the older adult to quit smoking and remind them to take medications for other conditions.

Sources
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prediabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20355278
https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html
https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/what-is-prediabetes

If you or an aging loved one is considering elderly care in Sterling, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 782-3655.