The Boulevard Senior Living – St. Charles Spreads Diabetes Awareness in the Community

It was November 1975 when the American Diabetes Association (ADA) first declared November National Diabetes Awareness Month. While diabetes is a common condition among Americans, there are still many Americans that are unaware of what diabetes is, who is at risk, and what chronic conditions can result from the disease. For example, most Americans with diabetes have Type 2, which is highly preventable with diet, exercise, education, and understanding of the disease. As Director of Wellness at The Boulevard Senior Living – St. Charles, it is up to me to spread awareness and provide education for diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction and shows up early in life. Type 2 diabetes is mainly related to lifestyle such as being overweight and inactivity and slowly develops over time. In Type 1, the body’s immune system attacks and kills insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas, so the body is unable to produce insulin. Type 2 is insulin resistant; the body produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively.

Some of the early signs and symptoms of diabetes include extreme thirst, frequent urination, dry mouth, slow healing cuts, fatigue and weakness, blurry vision, an increase in appetite, unexplained weight loss, and tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands and feet.

Comorbidities that can arise from diabetes include hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, sleep disorders (restless leg syndrome, apnea, or insomnia) and some cancers (liver, pancreatic, breast, bladder, or colon cancers.)

Lifestyle changes to decrease the risk of diabetes include maintaining a moderate weight, increasing activity, eating a balanced diet, and decreasing intake of sugary or overly processed foods. Some obstacles for at-risk Americans are lack of knowledge or understanding of the consequences of diabetes, trying to fit more exercise in their lifestyle, and difficulty changing their eating habits.

We can support our residents with diabetes by understanding the disease and what they are going through and listening to them. We can also encourage exercise, in some form, by making it more fun, rather than a punishment, and encourage them to make healthy food choices.

It is important to know the signs and symptoms of diabetes. The Wellness Team of The Boulevard Senior Living – St. Charles is highly trained to recognize, educate, and help with the prevention of diabetes. We are also skilled with assisting residents currently afflicted with the disease.