Health Tips for Seniors

Reasons for diabetes and its control

Several difficulties attend the diabetic person. Probably the best-known of these difficulties is diabetic coma, where the diabetic condition actually produces unconsciousness. Many diabetics carry cards on their person, informing strangers what to do for them in case they should be found unconscious. Another well-known difficulty of diabetics is poor blood circulation, especially in the toes. Unfortunately with the diabetic of senior years, gangrene of the toe may become rapidly apparent following the slightest injury or infection, and the most delicate care is necessary to prevent such unfortunate complications.

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Diabetes starts most often between the ages of forty-five and fifty years, twice as often in women as in men, and especially in married women who have had children. Diabetes seems to be a racial characteristic which afflicts the Jewish race heavily for some unknown reason. Inheritance also is a factor in diabetes and if any one of our close relatives is found to have this disease, we ourselves are possible candidates and an examination for diabetes is in order.

The biggest reason for diabetes seems to be “obesity.” The reason is not clear, but schooled opinion exists that the fat person is continually looking down the gun barrel of diabetes. Stress also is thought responsible for bringing about diabetes, and the stress of a severe burn, high fever, pregnancy or severe emotional upset is very often the straw that breaks the back of the diabetic candidate. Examination after such episodes often reveals, for the first time, the presence of diabetes.

Control of diabetes means control of sugar within the body. In light diabetes, restriction of sugar in the diet may be sufficient, but in severe diabetes, insulin (which should have been manufactured by the pancreas) becomes necessary for effective treatment. Diabetics usually wonder why they cannot take insulin by mouth and the reason is that the hormone insulin, is also a protein, and if taken by mouth like other foods, is simply digested away. There is beginning use, however, of drugs taken orally which do have a pronounced effect in some cases of diabetes, and eventually it is probable that complete treatment of diabetes may be entirely by the oral route rather than by the unwelcome hypodermic route.

Effective treatment of the diabetic person whether by diet restriction, insulin usage, or both, usually enables these people to carry on a normal and active life within very wide boundaries.

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