There are approximately 25 million Americans with diabetes today; nearly 11 million of them are adults over age 65. Seniors who manage the disease and want to continue their independent lifestyle can benefit from a medical alert system. In fact, even those who maintain a healthy lifestyle are at increased risk for a number of conditions that can result in falls, strokes, or other serious medical issues.
Associated Risk Factors
Seniors with diabetes are at risk of common health problems like high blood pressure, hearing loss, and skin conditions. Something less frequently discussed, however, is the risk of falls. Since seniors with diabetes often experience decreased foot sensitivity or mobility, their risk of falling raises significantly. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications found that that seniors with diabetes are more likely to suffer a fall.
A number of complications are associated with this condition. Neuropathy, or nerve damage, is developed in about 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; nearly 30 percent over age 40 have nerve damage in their feet. When your feet are affected by neuropathy, it can be harder to sense pain or extreme temperatures. This can lead seniors to not realizing when their feet are in a potentially hazardous spot.
Foot ulcers are another problem for seniors with diabetes. Many diabetics experience changes in foot size, which means that they have to purchase new supportive footwear. People with foot ulcers may favor their non-ulcerated foot to avoid pain; however, favoring one side can put you off balance and cause falls.
Seniors with diabetes are also prone to vision problems, which can make it hard to see hazards that could potentially cause a fall. They’re also likely to suffer from fatigue and hunger, which could lead to fainting or falling from dizziness or exhaustion. Seniors with diabetes have a stroke risk that is two to four times higher than that of the general population.
How a Medical Alert System Can Help
If you or a senior in your life has diabetes, you should consider a medical alert system. Medical alert systems connect seniors with lifesaving care as quickly as possible. If a senior falls or suffers a heart attack, a medical alert system could save her life by notifying emergency services. This is particularly important because the nature of the emergency may make it impossible to get to the phone in time — or at all. In the case of broken bones, fractures, and other consequences of a fall, getting care fast is critical to making a full recovery.
Medical alert systems provide peace of mind for independent seniors and their families. With a medical alert system, seniors do not have to wonder if they can reach the phone in an emergency situation or how long it could take before someone is able to come to their aid. Rather, they can freely enjoy themselves — they can go out for walks or enjoy other recreation without needing to worry about what might happen if an accident or injury occurs.
Medical alert systems make it possible for seniors with diabetes can feel confident about living alone or with others.
Related Blog Posts:
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like our blog post on how to talk to mom or dad about a medalert system.