Why Elderly Seniors Should Get An Early Type 2 Diabetes Screening Test

Why should elderly seniors get an early type 2 diabetes screening test done? We will discuss this more in detail and provide resources to get tested.

Diabetes mellitus (DM) refers to a group of diseases which affects the body’s capacity to produce an adequate amount of insulin or to use insulin properly.

Type II Diabetes affects millions of Americans and can result in catastrophic medical consequences, and even death, if left undiagnosed or untreated.

In this article, we will review the role of the pancreas, describe the symptoms of Type II Diabetes, identify risk factors and prevention measures, discuss available screening options, and explore the benefits of early Type 2 Diabetes screening.

What is the Function of the Pancreas In Insulin Production?

The pancreas is a vital organ that is part of the digestive process in the body. During digestion, the pancreas produces enzymes to break down fats, starches, and sugars.

The pancreas is also responsible for creating hormones, including insulin, to regulate your body’s blood sugar levels and to tell your stomach when it’s full or empty.

The insulin helps your body use sugar for energy. When insulin production slows or stops completely, the sugar in your blood rises causing all sorts of health problems.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body can’t properly regulate blood sugar levels, or there’s too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream.

In many cases of Type 2 Diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin AND cells are unable to properly respond to insulin.

As of today, there is no cure for Type 2 Diabetes, but those affected by it can be taught to manage and even reverse some symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes include:

  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow healing wounds or sores
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Increased hunger
  • Darkened skin in certain areas, like the neck or armpits

Oftentimes, men and women live with Type 2 Diabetes for many years before ever realizing it or obtaining a diagnosis.

Many early symptoms are easily mistaken for other medical conditions. If left untreated, Type II Diabetes can lead to worsening medical issues including:

  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Limb amputations
  • Circulatory issues
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetic retinopathy and blindness
  • Loss of sensation (diabetic neuropathy)
  • Chronic kidney failure

 

What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

In Type 1 Diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas, thus the pancreas completely fails to make insulin.

In cases of Type II diabetes, the body develops a resistance to insulin or the body fails to produce enough insulin.

Type I Diabetes is often genetic, whereas Type II Diabetes is often triggered by certain lifestyle or dietary choices (but it can also have a genetic component).


What are the risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes?

Risk factors for Type II Diabetes include:

  • Age
  • A family history
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Body fat distribution
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High alcohol intake
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Have prediabetes

How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

Although not all cases of Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented, there are ways that men and women can lower their risk including:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Reducing sugary food and drink intake
  • Avoiding alcohol use
  • Weight loss
  • Reducing sodium levels
  • Reducing simple carbohydrate (white flour) intake
  • Staying well-hydrated
  • Attending routine medical check-ups

 

What is Type 2 Diabetes Screening?

The Type 2 Diabetes Screening involves a simple finger prick to collect a blood sample for a blood-glucose test, also called the hemoglobin A1c test.

This screening can calculate your average blood-glucose level over the last 2-3 months. Hemoglobin is found in your red blood cells, which can live for approximately 3 months.

Glucose binds to hemoglobin and travels through the bloodstream. For test results to be accurate, your technician will ask you to fast for at least 12 hours prior to the screening (i.e. no food or drink).

Once your test results have returned, they will be sent to your primary physician for review.

What are the Benefits of Type 2 Diabetes Screening?

The Type 2 Diabetes screening is the American standard for diabetic diagnostics, and is commonly used in medical practice. Participating in a Type 2 Diabetes screening comes with multiple benefits, including:

  • Quick and easy testing
  • Fast results
  • Ease of mind
  • Limited risk for adverse reactions
  • Accurate diagnosis for proper treatment options

 

What Happens if My Screening Results Come Back Positive for Type 2 Diabetes?

Once your test results have been reviewed by your primary physician, you may be asked to attend a follow-up appointment to look over your results together.

If your results reveal that you are positive for Type 2 diabetes, or even show signs of pre-diabetes, your physician will provide you with your available treatment options.

Although Diabetes has become a growingly, more common disease, it is still dangerous and fatal when left untreated.

You physician may suggest any of the following type 2 diabetes treatment options, depending on your symptoms or severity:

  • Insulin medication
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Treatment and assessment of comorbid conditions (high blood pressure, heart disease)

Conclusion To Type 2 Diabetes Screening

Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that impacts the body’s ability to produce a sufficient amount of insulin or to use insulin properly to keep blood-sugar in balance.

In many cases (but not all), Type 2 Diabetes is caused by poor lifestyle choices and can be associated with comorbid medical conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure.

If left untreated, Type 2 Diabetes can lead to complications including diabetic foot ulcers, blindness, neuropathy, and even death.

It’s essential for patients to participate in early Type 2 Diabetes screening early to get an accurate diagnosis and to get on the right treatment path fast. Screening is quick and results are often immediate.

Your physician will review your results and provide you with your available treatment options.

If you or a loved one are interested in participating in a Type 2 Diabetes screening, talk to your primary physician today.

Author: Samuel

Samuel is a physical therapist with over 20 years medical experience. He has extensive knowledge in functional rehabilitation in the acute care hospital and in-home care settings. He has spent most of his career helping seniors transition from hospital or rehab care to living independently at home. In his free time he likes to travel and read autobiographies.

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