Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects more than 77 million people in India. In fact, 88% of our Samarth Community seniors have been diagnosed with diabetes, and 63% have had diabetes for more than 10 years, reflecting the chronic state of affairs. These figures suggest a significant burden of diabetes within the senior population in India. Managing diabetes can be challenging for seniors because the older you are, the worse your ability to metabolise medication is. Thus, with ongoing advancements in medical research and treatment options, many wonder if it’s possible to reverse diabetes in older adults. A Samarth Community survey revealed that 79% of our diabetic seniors receive some diabetes treatment, signifying the relevance of this issue. By diabetes reversal, we mean achieving normal blood sugar levels without needing medication or only relying minimally on it. Specifically, to be classified as non-diabetic, one’s HBA1C should be below 5.6%, fasting below 100mg/dL, and a 2-hour plasma glucose level below 140 mg/dL, without any medications.
Three pathways to explore to reverse diabetes include:
- Following a supervised diet
Research suggests that lifestyle modifications leading to weight loss are vital to manage and potentially reverse diabetes, regardless of age. This means focusing on a balanced diet that includes whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables while practising portion control. We found that 67% of our seniors are pursuing a recommended diet or meal plan for diabetes management, and we recommend adding these foods to your diet plan to control diabetes. Staying physically active by walking, swimming, or light strength training can improve insulin sensitivity and overall well-being. Remission can be reached by exercising and following a diet under supervision.
- Medical interventions and support
In some cases, medical interventions and support may be necessary for senior citizens to effectively manage their diabetes. However, it is important to remember that medication alone isn’t the sole solution for diabetes reversal. Close monitoring by healthcare professionals, regular check-ups, and adherence to treatment plans are critical aspects of diabetes management for seniors.
- Home remedies
There are also a few home remedies that you can incorporate into your routine today to manage diabetes. Consuming spices commonly found in Indian food, like turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, and cloves, can help lower blood sugar levels while increasing insulin levels.
While a complete reversal of diabetes may be challenging, evidence suggests that senior citizens can experience improved health outcomes through lifestyle modifications and appropriate medical interventions. By adopting healthy habits, closely monitoring blood sugar levels, and working closely with healthcare professionals, older adults can strive for optimal diabetes management and potentially reduce their reliance on medications. Being active after a meal has also proven effective in managing diabetes. Ultimately, this can lead to a better quality of life.
So, if you or a loved one is a senior living with diabetes, don’t lose hope. Embrace healthy habits, seek professional guidance, and take charge of your well-being. Together, we can improve the management of diabetes in our senior population and pave the way for healthier ageing.