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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Whole Grains and Blood Pressure

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For many seniors, as we age, our blood pressure seems to creep up as well. Here’s one solution to lower blood pressure naturally. Refrain from reaching for any white grain such as white rice or white bread. Instead, replace it with brown rice and whole grain bread. In a study of overweight adults in their 50’s, those that replaced refined grains (rice, cereal, bread) with whole grains lost weight as well as a drop in their systolic blood pressure (top number) of five to six points.

High blood pressure can raise your risk for a heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and blindness among the many problems. Other diseases such as diabetes can raise your risk even further.

The study suggested that lowering blood pressure by eating three servings of whole-grain foods daily could reduce the risk of coronary artery disease by at least 15 percent and stroke by 25 percent or more.  Generally, refined or processed foods have more sodium which is known to contribute to high blood pressure. However, the study did not define exactly how whole grains might contribute to the lowering of blood pressure.

Check this Web site of the Harvard School of Public Health for more information on the benefits of whole grains.

With all of the known side effects of blood pressure medication which even includes heart failure, taking prescription medication should be your last option.  Pre-hypertension or even hypertension can often be controlled with diet and exercise.

February is American Heart Month. On the Web site of the American Heart Association, you will see some staggering figures: 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, it is the number one cause of death of women 20 and older, more women die of heart disease than the next four causes of death combined, including cancer. It is the number one killer in America, also known as the “silent killer.”Enhanced by Zemanta