1 in 4. Could you have diabetes without knowing it?

1 in 4 older Australians could have type 2 diabetes. That is a huge number! Even worse is that a full quarter of this number don’t even know they have it! Type 2 diabetes can develop slowly, usually over months or even years. And as we age, things are changing anyway, which means the onset of diabetes can be difficult to spot. At Glenvale Villas we carefully monitor all our residents’ health to be a preventative as possible. That includes looking out for diabetes.

What is Type 2 diabetes?

It’s a metabolic disorder that results in high blood glucose level (known as hyperglycemia).

It was called adult-onset diabetes because of its prevalent occurrence in adults over 40, but the last decades have seen an alarming rise in child, teen and young adult cases.

Type 2 diabetes is also known as the diet-related diabetes, but many factors contribute to its occurrence, including being overweight, lack of activity, smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

Genetic influences also count heavily, and if both parents have type 2, it’s a 75% chance you will get it too.

Diagnosis for older bodies

As we age, our bodies change. These physiological changes also affect the way symptoms for many illnesses are shown, including those for diabetes. The classic symptoms are excessive thirst, frequent urination, extreme tiredness and loss of muscle mass.

Many of these symptoms are also common with an ageing body or other illnesses, which is why type 2 diabetes can be hard to spot in older people.

Luckily, we are experts at maintaining the health of our older residents, with minimum fuss and intervention.

Risks and management for older people

Getting older heightens the risk with any illness. It’s an unfortunate part of life, which is why we are so vigilant at Glenvale Villas. Curing or treating illnesses is much harder than preventing them. Our Continuous Care approach continually assesses our residents care needs and adjusts accordingly, up or down.

Complications arising out of the type 2 diabetes are more difficult to manage than with younger patients, but with careful monitoring a completely normal quality of life is still possible.

Diabetes is an illness that requires a strict care routine, which can be challenging for older people and reduces the likelihood of self-management. Many older diabetics are pre-disposed to hypoglycemia, which is when blood glucose levels drop below 4 mmol/L, but this can be managed by ensuring a sugar treat is always carried, like a small biscuit.

Unmanaged type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications, including mobility difficulties, hearing and vision loss, and cognitive impairment.

That’s why we stay on top of the first symptoms, and act accordingly.