Mental Illnesses Linked to Elderly Diabetics
Depression is a common mental condition that occurs synonymously withdiabetes. In some patients, the diagnosis of diabetes contributes to overwhelming emotions and stress leading to a depressed mental state. Depression in diabetics may also be linked to some medications used for diabetes treatment, metabolic processes or the sudden realization of a life-altering medical condition.
Results of a scientific study published in the September 20, 2011 issue ofNeurology, an American Academy of Neurology publication, indicate an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia conditions in diabetics. Type 2 diabetes and its connection to the development of Alzheimer’s disease is not entirely understood. It is believed that uncontrolled blood glucose levels in elderly diabetics causes a condition known as vascular dementia, caused by blood vessel damage in the brain. This damage to the brain’s blood vessels contributes to mild cognitive impairment, MCI, a phase of mental and cognitive changes that occur between normal aging and more serious conditions such as dementia.
Improving Mental Wellness in Elderly Diabetics
An active lifestyle has been found to improve overall mental wellness of cancer sufferers, such asperitoneal mesothelioma, as well as in elderly diabetics. Studies indicate diabetics who participate in 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic or a mix of strength training and aerobic exercises, three to five times per week, decrease their risk of mental disease and complications from diabetes. Regular exercise increases mental alertness and improves judgment and thinking skills as a person ages.
Maintain a healthy diet and reduce blood sugar spikes and fallouts. Drastic swings in blood glucose levels have a direct impact on a person’s mood. Extremely high or low readings lead to irritability, loss of concentration and decreased mental sharpness. Use a balanced diet of lean proteins, fiber-rich foods, vegetables, whole-grains and complex carbohydrates to combat food’s affect on glucose levels and mood.
Follow a doctor’s treatment plan for diabetes and mental illness. Discuss symptoms of depression or other mental changes with a healthcare provider. Identifying the source of the symptoms helps treat the underlying cause and improves the chances of successful treatment. Diabetics in a successful treatment regimen tend to manage their diabetes better than those with uncontrolled mental diseases. Good mental health improves a diabetic’s ability to focus on managing the disease through diet, medications and exercise.