November is National Diabetes Awareness month, and the National Council on Aging has partnered with the YMCA to increase awareness of Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions in older adults. The campaign includes online resources and a quiz to assess risk and encourage conversations with care providers.
Diabetes affects nearly 29 million adults in the United States, and nearly 40 percent of them are over age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In older adults, diabetes can contribute to a host of dangerous complications, including diabetic nerve damage, circulation problems, skin ulcers and infections, kidney damage and hypertension, notes the American Diabetes Association.
Awareness of pre-diabetic conditions—when blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to qualify as diabetes—is key. As many as 86 million people are estimated to have pre-diabetes, but only about 10 percent of them are aware of it, the CDC says. About half (51 percent) of those with pre-diabetic conditions are age 65+.
Older adults may be able to reduce or reverse pre-diabetic conditions through exercise, dietary changes and weight loss, according to the YMCA’s diabetes prevention program site. The National Council on Aging offers resources for older adults and senior care professionals interested in Medicare’s diabetes self-management training program.