More than 37 million Americans are living with diabetes, roughly 90–95% with Type 2 diabetes. While Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age, it typically develops during midlife (over age 45).
Diabetes in middle-aged adults is common. Receiving a type 2 diabetes diagnosis during midlife can be overwhelming, and it’s difficult to know where to start. Learning about Type 2 diabetes and how to effectively manage it during midlife can give you the tools you need to protect your health and live a long, healthy life.
Type 2 Diabetes 101Glucose is a type of sugar that you get from the food you eat. It’s the primary source of energy for the brain and body. For your body to use glucose as energy, a hormone called insulin, which makes it possible for your cells to absorb glucose from your blood, is needed.
When you have Type 2 diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use it effectively. Without enough effective insulin, glucose levels in your blood can rise, putting you at risk of serious long-term health complications, such as heart disease, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, vision loss, and hearing loss.
Challenges of Managing Diabetes in Middle-Aged Adults
Managing diabetes in middle-aged adults can be difficult and frustrating. During midlife, we all experience hurdles and challenges that we’ve never had to consider before. For both men and women, it’s normal to experience changes in metabolic rate and hormone levels. During midlife, your metabolism may begin to slow down, meaning you may need to consume fewer calories or exercise more to achieve a healthy weight. Fluctuating hormone levels can also make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
Maintaining a healthy weight during midlife isn’t always an easy task—but it’s an important one. Midlife represents a window of increased cardiovascular risk for both men and women. Men older than 45 and women past menopause have the highest risk of experiencing a heart-related event. However, by maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your blood glucose levels in your target range, you may reduce your risk of heart disease and other diabetes-related health complications.
Tips for Managing Diabetes in Middle-Aged Adults
Glycemic control, or your ability to control your blood glucose levels and keep them in your target range, is the cornerstone of diabetes care. Tight glycemic control is considered an essential strategy for managing your diabetes and preventing diabetes-related health complications.
For Type 2 diabetes, tight glycemic control can often be achieved through a delicate balance of diet and exercise. In some cases, insulin or other blood glucose–lowering medications may be needed to meet blood glucose targets. In this case, routine glucose checks play an essential role in Type 2 diabetes management.
Finding ways to make these self-care tasks a regular part of your day-to-day routine can help you maintain healthy blood glucose levels and a healthy weight. This can help prevent serious long-term complications, all while creating habits that protect many other aspects of your health as you age.
Making Diabetes Self-Care Tasks a Priority
Most everyone with Type 2 diabetes understands the importance of eating a healthy diet, making time to exercise, and regularly checking blood glucose levels. The challenge is making these self-care tasks a priority every day.
Prioritizing diabetes self-care can look different from person to person. Try to identify the self-care tasks that you find challenging. If you struggle to make exercise a priority, find things that help you stick to an exercise routine, whether that’s signing up for exercise classes, getting someone to exercise with you, or giving home workouts a try. If you’re having a hard time finding the right things to eat, consider working with a registered dietician nutritionist to create a plan that’s easy to follow and works for your lifestyle.
If you find it difficult to check your blood glucose as often as you should, consider trying new technologies that aim to simplify blood glucose monitoring. An automatic blood glucose monitor (ABGM), like the POGO Automatic®, offers a simple, discreet, and accurate way to check your blood sugar in a single step. Simply turn the monitor on, place your finger on the test port, and you’re good to Pogo.
Managing diabetes in middle-aged adults can bring new challenges and new frustrations, but you can create new strategies and incorporate new tools that simplify your day-to-day tasks and help you prioritize diabetes management.
Jaclyn Owens is a product director specializing in diabetes management tools. She is committed to using technology to empower people with diabetes and help them take control of their health.
All content on this website is for educational purposes only and does not replace the guidance of your healthcare practitioner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
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