Living with Diabetes-Related Health Issues

August 2017

As people get older, their risk for type 2 diabetes increases. In fact, in the U.S. about one in four people over the age of 60 has diabetes. If you already have diabetes, you may find that you need to adjust how you manage your condition as the years go by. There are particular conditions that can be more common with diabetes, especially as we age.

Hearing loss
Hearing loss can happen at any age. It is more common in people with diabetes. Family and friends usually notice hearing loss first. Common signs of hearing loss include:

  • Frequently asking others to repeat themselves
  • Having trouble following conversations that involve more than two people
  • Thinking that others are mumbling
  • Having problems hearing in noisy places such as busy restaurants
  • Having trouble hearing the voices of women and small children
  • Turning up the TV or radio volume too loud for others who are nearby

Your doctor may not always screen for hearing loss during a physical. If you know you have trouble hearing, tell him or her right away to avoid miscommunication. Having family or a friend there to listen and write down instructions can also help.

Dental problems
Teeth issues and gum disease are more common if you have diabetes. High blood-glucose levels weaken your ability to fight germs. Blood flow to your gums is also impaired. If your gums bleed or are red, see your dentist.

Depression is not uncommon among older adults who are living with diabetes. It is normal to feel sad sometimes, but if you feel down for more than two weeks, you might be depressed. Don’t be afraid to talk with your doctor. There are medicines that can help you get back to feeling like yourself. Counseling or psychotherapy with a mental-health professional is also an option.

The bottom line: You don’t have to live with untreated health issues associated with diabetes and aging. Help is available. Talk with your doctor or diabetes educator.

Source: American Diabetes Association

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