Diabetes and Elderly Falls: Prevention and Safety Tips

Diabetes and human fall

Living with diabetes as you get older continues to pose more and more challenges. Every day is a new hurdle they must cross as they progress with life. Having diabetes in one’s older years can be managed, however, but it requires proper care to handle it. It all narrows down to dedication and commitment towards adapting a healthy life.

Diabetes was actually derived from ancient Latin (diabētēs), which literally means “a passer through; a siphon. They intended to refer to ‘excessive discharge of urine,’ a key sign of a person suffering from diabetes.

Diabetes is all about blood sugar. It is a condition that arises due to increase in glucose in the blood to unmanageable levels. So here’s the deal with diabetes. Your body needs glucose which is oxidized to provide energy to facilitate your daily activities. Walking, running, gym sessions, you name them. But here’s the catch, you body just needs enough glucose in the blood, which is carried to the cells for metabolism, any more than that possess a potential threat to your body and health in general. In order to keep the body out of harm’s way, the pancreas is tasked with secreting the hormone insulin which helps the in the absorption of glucose from food into the body cells.

Generally, Glucose is not supposed to stay for long periods in the blood system. Insulin facilitates this, ensuring smooth absorption.

However, when enough insulin is not being produced, r the insulin is dysfuctioning, glucose tends to get accumulated in your blood stream. This results in high level of  blood sugar which is hazardous to one’s health.

There are generally three types of diabetes:

  • Type 1- results from the pancreas’s failure to produce enough insulin.


  • Type 2-begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly. It is mainly casued by excessive body weight and not enough exercise


  • Gestational diabetes- is the third main form and occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop high blood-sugar levels.

Common signs of someone suffering with diabetes include extreme thirst or hunger, frequent need to urinate or fatigue. Some lose weight without trying. Also, sores that heal slowly, dry, itchy skin, loss of feeling or tingling in the feet and blurry eyesight are some diagnosed symptoms of diabetes.

According to 2014 estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 29.1 million Americans aged 20 years and above have diabetes.(12.3 percent of all people in this age group) . This translates to 1 in every 11 having diabetes.  Out of this, only a reported 21 million are diagnosed. So we are talking of about 8.1 million people suffering silently with diabetes. The risk of death of people with diabetes increases by a whopping 50% in comparison to those not having it.

Someone suffering from diabetes poses a risk of developing other medical complications. It’s more of a loop hole allowing all other medical conditions you can think of. Blindness, kidney failure, stroke, loss of toes and limbs, you name it.

A research by America Diabetes Association proved that older adults with diabetes, especially those using insulin, were at a greater risk of an injurious fall requiring hospitalization than those without diabetes. Human falls are the leading cause of injuries and death among the elders especially in the 70-79 age group. Add diabetes to the group, and the risk of falling escalates significantly.

Diabetes and Human fall

Diabetes has its negative effect on the body. Poor glycemic control, decreased physical performance, decreased cognitive performance, poor vision and increased use of antidepressant medication.

Its toll on the overall physical performance on the body makes the victim weak and tires quickly. Thus, their mobility becomes strenuous due to the low energy level in their bodies. This makes them quite vulnerable to falls as they can’t maintain their stability.

Poor vision on the other hand normally occurs among older people due to aging of the optic nerves. They may require some vision aids to help them see. Now, insert a diabetes condition to the equation, the vision becomes the victim in this case. And if one can’t see their way around, then falling is more prone.

People diagnosed with diabetes are normally prescribed anti-depressant drugs to try and curb the condition. These drugs come with side effects such as dizziness, slow response of the body. Hence their reflex nerves are relaxed beyond the normal point. This makes them victims to frequent falls due to the dragged response of the body. Maybe the carpet is well spread. In case they trip on it, then their reaction to grab something to prevent them from falling is slowed.

Keeping Diabetes at bay

Diabetes can be tamed, given the dedication and focus put in trying to curb it.

  • The best way to protect yourself from the serious complications of diabetes is to manage your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol. Have your blood glucose and pressure measured frequently so that you can act accordingly given the status of the blood pressure and glucose in the body.


  • Avoid smoking at all cost. It is not always easy, but people who make an ongoing effort to manage their diabetes can greatly improve their overall health.


  • Have your way lighted fully to avoid falling haphazardly, especially for those affected by poor vision. Add night lights to areas frequented like the path to the kitchen, bedroom and washrooms.


  • Have your physician go through your meds to check for any side effects that may not be accounted for. The dizziness, drowsiness that comes with anti-depressants drugs.


Medical alert system to the rescue


Purchase a medical alert system for older adults. The medical alert system has proved beyond doubt to be a life saver in times of dire need. This guarantees the older people their privacy and peace they long for but still have their health under constant monitoring. The monitoring station keeps track of the medical status of their clients and responds to emergency calls effectively in the event of an accident, keeping everyone happy and contented.


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