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To avoid getting caught by surprise, keep regular appointments

Q: My husband was recently rushed to the hospital. His blood sugar level was extremely high and we were informed he had Type 2 diabetes. This had never shown up on any blood tests in the past. I am feeling somewhat guilty and wondering if I just didn’t notice some changes in him. Are there symptoms that would have been a clue to this?

A: Diabetes has often been dubbed as the “silent killer”. In the beginning the symptoms are so mild a person might not even be aware a serious chronic condition is attacking their body. Physicians frequently determine damage has already occurred prior to diagnosis.

Diabetes sneaks up on you…there is no reason for you to feel guilty at all. Actually it is believed one in two people living with diabetes are currently undiagnosed.

Your question provides us an opportunity to mention World Diabetes Day which was celebrated on November 14th. Their message this year was the importance of families being more aware of the symptoms of diabetes and sharing health history with each other. These are some of the signs which may indicate a person’s blood sugar level is elevated and a check-up is imperative. Reoccurring infections, increased thirst, frequent urination, feeling very tired, blurry vision, always feeling hungry, slow healing cuts and wounds, patches of dark skin, dry mouth, itchy skin, tingling/numbness in the hands or feet are all possible symptoms.

Type 2 diabetes was previously a condition mostly impacting older adults. Unfortunately it is now being seen in some children who are seriously overweight. Individuals of all ages are encouraged to eat healthy foods, stay active, maintain a healthy weight and avoid being sedentary for long periods.

Most importantly always adhere to a routine of regular appointments with your physician and notify him/ her of any changes even if they seem insignificant.

 

Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our staff is available for a no-cost consultation, set up at your convenience, to help guide you through your caregiving experience. For more details or to schedule an appointment, please call 800-892-0890.

Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to ageinfo@esmv.org or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of Merrimack Valley and North Shore.