Dangers and Complications of Diabetes

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Over the years, I’ve written about the dangers and complications of diabetes, but I recently came across some staggering figures from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affecting the senior population. I know many seniors who are in the pre-diabetes stage, but many of them take it in stride and don’t seem to understand the consequences.

Here are the statistics that may be of concern to you:

  • Among U.S. residents aged 65 years and older, 10.9 million, or 26.9%,  had diabetes in 2010.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people of similar age but without diabetes.

The estimated number of new cases in 2010 was also remarkable. For those between 45 to 54 it was 1,052,000 and for those 65 and over it was 390,000 making it a total of almost 1.5 million people. Medical expenses for people with diabetes are more than two times higher than for people without diabetes. People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses. Once they acquire these illnesses, they often have worse prognoses. For example, they are more likely to die with pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes.

People with diabetes aged 60 years or older are 2–3 times more likely to report an inability to walk one-quarter of a mile, climb stairs, or do housework compared with people without diabetes in the same age group. Diabetes is a lifestyle disease and can be reversed, but it takes a lot of work. If you need a partner to get started and hold you accountable, check out the Gracefully Age Program and grow out of being a diabetic statistic.

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Swine Flu

pig

The United States has declared a public health emergency for the swine flu. This is not a cause for panic. It’s what the government does when there’s an impending catastrophe such as a hurricane. There might be a pandemic, there might not.

The swine flu virus is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by Type A influenza viruses. (See past blog post of March 26, 2009). Symptoms for the pig include:

  • Coughing (“barking”)
  • Discharge from the nose
  • Sneezing
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Going off feed

Pigs get infected from other pigs that have the swine flu, but they can also get it from birds with the avian flu and from human beings. This crossing of species can lead to new viruses.

Interestingly, there is no evidence that humans can catch the swine flu from eating pork. Be sure to cook pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F and that would kill bacteria and viruses.

Symptoms in humans include:

  • Fever (101 to 102 degrees)
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Coughing

It can also include runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

You should use a mask even when going to the doctor. (Masks are for healthy people, too, so if you go to the doctor for say, a physical, it would be prudent to wear a mask. Some doctors provide masks for their patients). Diagnosis includes getting a respiratory specimen during the first four or five days of the illness when shedding the virus. Children may shed up to 10 days or longer.

The swine flu is currently making headlines, but CNN reports that the regular flu has killed thousands since January. They report the following:

  • Swine flu getting focus, but so far it’s not deadly in the United States
  • Since January, more than 13,000 have died of complications from seasonal flu
  • Worldwide annual death from the flu estimated between 250,000 and 500,000
  • About 9 out of 10 flu deaths are among people older than 65

For the full article, see http://budurl.com/j9t6.

Seniors with a weakened immune system are especially at risk for any type of flu and this should serve as a wake-up call for seniors. It’s a time to be really pro-active to protect yourself. Currently there is no vaccine that would take care of this particular strain of the swine flu. Even if there were one to be developed, it would take time to get it out to the public.

Besides a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and exercise, take stock of your nutritional supplements. Vitamark International, for example, has a drink called Limu Plus that does many things, but I take it specifically to boost my immune system. It can’t prevent colds by any means, but it might shorten the recovery time. Additionally, most people, including myself, who take superior quality vitamins also find that they have fewer illnesses or that the recovery time is shortened. I can’t make any claims for the products, but I can only share what they’re doing for me.

Take the standard precautions of washing your hands frequently and avoid rubbing your eyes. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. If you cough, cough into your elbow, not your hands. Let your doctor know if you have flu-like symptoms and have been around pigs, been to Mexico, or around someone who has the swine flu virus.

I wish you the best of health!

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