Dealing with Diabetes
Managing Your Health and Long-term Costs
In honor of World Diabetes Day (Wednesday, November 14), now is a good time to take note of steps you can take to prevent diabetes, ways to stay healthy if you are or become a diabetic, and what financial impact the disease it may have.
Distinguishing diabetes types
Did you know that there are two different “types” of diabetes? Type 1 diabetes, also referred to as “juvenile diabetes,” is a lifelong, incurable condition usually diagnosed in adolescent children; but symptoms can surface at any age and regardless of diet or lifestyle. It is the rarer type, given that of the more than 100 million* diabetics in the U.S., only 5% have type 1 diabetes.**
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can possibly be avoided (at least for some time) by maintaining a healthy diet and good exercise habits. Type 2 diabetes develops due to your body’s inability to properly use the insulin (a hormone that exists to regulate the amount of glucose in your blood) that’s created by your pancreas. Without insulin working normally to lower the amount of glucose in your blood, your blood glucose (blood sugar) can rise higher than it should. Studies show that type 2 diabetes tends to be more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, and also older adults.***
Detecting diabetes symptoms
Before being diagnosed, diabetics can experience several separate symptoms of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). These symptoms† can include…
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Blurred vision
If you’re a diabetic with high blood sugar, there are many simple ways to help lower your blood sugar naturally, such as exercise, reducing carbohydrate intake, drinking water, and more. To prevent further complications, it’s extremely important to follow basic best practices as a diabetic, which include frequent blood sugar testing, staying diligent with taking your medication, etc.
Methods of management and medicine
For type 1 diabetics, insulin is the only way of control this condition. Insulin can be injected a variety of different ways, including standard syringes, insulin pumps, and insulin pens. Regardless of how insulin is injected, there is no doubt that type 1 diabetics will be entirely dependent on this medication.
For type 2 diabetics, types of treatment can vary. Depending on your individual circumstances, your doctor may advise you to adjust your diet, increase your physical activity, take oral medication, or inject insulin (like type 1 diabetics).
Cost of care
As with many medical conditions, there is a significant financial cost of living with diabetes. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), an individual diabetic’s average annual medical costs are $9,600.‡ The total medical expenditures of diabetics are estimated to be more than double those who don’t have diabetes. Plus, a study from Diabetes Care found that nearly 25% of adult diabetics cite out-of-pocket expenses related to diabetes to be a financial burden.
Finding freedom in retirement
If you’re a homeowner age 60 or older, and have diabetes or any other medical condition that comes with significant long-term costs, you may benefit from tapping into your home equity with a reverse mortgage from Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC (RMF). By accessing your home equity, you could add more financial flexibility to your retirement – and more easily cover the costs of long-term care needs, including medical expenses not covered by health insurance. Call (888) 277-1567 to speak to a licensed reverse mortgage specialist who can help you decide if this is the right financial decision for your retirement needs.
This piece does not constitute medical advice. You should consult your doctor with any questions, or before undertaking any new diet or exercise program.
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*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “New CDC report: More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes,” July 18, 2017
**American Diabetes Association®, “Type 1 Diabetes”
*** American Diabetes Association®, “Facts About Type 2”
†Healthline®, “How to Recognize and Manage a Blood Sugar Spike”
‡Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Calculate What Diabetes Costs Your Business,” May 2018