Quality of Life seminar covers Diabetes

A health professional will present a talk titled “Diabetes” at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, in the Terrace Room at the Oak Park Arms retirement community, 408 S. Oak Park Ave. The public is welcome to attend this free event.

Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood. Two common types of diabetes are: Type 1–an auto-immune disease where the body destroys insulin and Type 2—a disease characterized by insulin resistance.

According to a new study from researchers at the University of Chicago, if the current trend continues, the number of diabetes cases will nearly double in the next 25 years, rising from the current 23.7 million to 44.1 million in 2034.

The cost of treating this many people will triple, rising from $113 billion to $336 billion, and Medicare spending on diabetes will skyrocket from $45 billion to $171 billion. It’s the domino effect.

Over 20 million Americans are affected with diabetes, with over half of those cases occurring in people 55 or older. As people get older, their risk for type 2 diabetes increases. In fact, one in four people over the age of 60 have diabetes.

How does diabetes develop?

Food is broken down in the body to be used as energy. When food is digested a sugar called glucose enters the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas meant to regulate blood sugar. Because glucose is a source of fuel for the body, it is the role of insulin to move glucose from the bloodstream into fat, liver and muscle cells to be stored for energy.

Diabetes can be caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin, or both. People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their bodies cannot move the sugar from the bloodstream through the body properly.

High blood sugar levels can cause several symptoms, including:

•    Blurry vision
•    Excess thirst
•    Fatigue
•    Frequent Urination
•    Hunger
•    Weight Loss

Older patients may have several co-existing conditions that can mask the symptoms of diabetes, making a diagnosis difficult. This can also affect the management of diabetes as people age. Treatment involving a combination of medicine, diet and exercise helps control blood sugar and prevents symptoms and problems.

If left untreated, complications may include:

•    Trouble seeing, light sensitivity or blindness
•    Sores and infections on skin and feet that could result in amputation
•    Nerve damage in the body
•    Kidney disease
•    Higher blood pressure and cholesterol
•    Heart disease and stroke

Luckily, there are a few things that can prevent such appalling numbers. A recent 10-year trial called the Diabetes Prevention Program showed that overweight people with elevated blood sugar levels who lost a modest amount of weight lowered their risk of developing diabetes by at least a third. People age 60 and over saw even more dramatic results, cutting their risk of diabetes during the study period by about half.

If everyone would take three easy steps, the surge in diabetes might be better controlled:

•    Lose weight.
•    Eat right (low fat, lower calories) most of the time.
•    Take a walk (or exercise) 30 minutes five days of the week.

The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides independent and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information call Jill Wagner at 708-386-4040.


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