Every year, more than a million U.S. adults are diagnosed with diabetes, but almost 1 in 4 adults or 7.2 million Americans living with diabetes don't know they have it, according to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The risk of diabetes increases with age.
When left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems, the National Institutes of Health warns. Side effects might include "heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage and circulation problems that may lead to amputation. People with Type 2 diabetes also have a greater risk for Alzheimer's disease."
Chances are if you're a senior, you or a loved one has been affected by diabetes. But if you don't know the signs, you won't be able to get yourself or your loved one the proper care.
Diabetes signs and symptoms
The American Diabetes Association lists warning signs and symptoms of diabetes, including:
- frequent urination,
- unusual thirst,
- blurred vision,
- unexplained fatigue,
- extreme hunger,
- tingling/numbness in hands or feet.
If you believe you or someone you care for has any of these symptoms of diabetes, it's important to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician. Managing diabetes usually involves a combination of staying as active as possible, eating healthy and age appropriate medication.
Living with diabetes
Living with diabetes, while it can be effectively managed, can be tough at times. Every day is a new hurdle with unique challenges. As you get older, jumping over those hurdles can become a bit more challenging, but it's not impossible. With age comes an increased risk for specific complications that require diligence and care to properly mitigate them. As an example, avoiding falls is a top priority for older adults.
Volunteering in clinical trials
Researchers continue to make great strides each year in discovering new treatments for diabetes. The National Institute on Aging concludes that it is important for clinical trials to have participants of different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities. When research involves a group of people who are similar, the findings may not apply to or benefit everyone. When clinical trials include diverse participants, the study results may have a much wider applicability.
Local Clinical trial programs are always looking for volunteers interested in participating in the development of new treatments. Those who sign up gain access to investigational treatments before they're available to the public in addition to gaining access to free physical exams and diagnostic tests and personified education and coaching at no cost.
Over the course of the trial, participants will have frequent checkups, blood draws and chemistry panels and free glucose testing supplies and medication. They may also receive compensation for study-related time and travel.
For more information on ongoing diabetes studies or to volunteer for a clinical trial, visit or contact the AMCR Institute today.