Understanding Prediabetes in a Person Over the Age of 65

If you have become the primary caretaker of your senior citizen mother or father, you need to be abreast of the state of your parent’s health. One health condition that your parent may have is prediabetes. If you are like a good number of individuals, you are largely unfamiliar with prediabetes. Through this article, you are presented with an overview of prediabetes and how it can impact your older parent. 

What Is Prediabetes?

In basic terms, prediabetes means that a person has a higher than normal glucose or blood sugar level. The glucose or blood sugar level is not high enough to be classified as diabetes, however. If an individual doesn’t make some lifestyle changes, a person with prediabetes is at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. With that said, the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes is not inevitable. 

Symptoms of Prediabetes

Generally speaking, there are no specific obvious signs that a person maybe suffering from prediabetes. If an individual is at risk for prediabetes, that person should have regular blood tests to ascertain if his or her blood glucose levels are increasing. 

Examples of factors that might put a person at a higher risk for prediabetes include:

  • Family history of diabetes
  • Overweight
  • Lack of proper exercise
  • Failing to maintain a proper diet

Medical professionals have noted that there may be one possible sign sometimes associated with prediabetes. In some instances, individuals sometimes have darkened skin on certain parts of that person’s body:

  • Neck
  • Armpits
  • Groin

Symptoms of Progression From Prediabetes to Diabetes

A person with prediabetes needs to be aware of the signs and symptoms of progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. These signs and symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Unintended weight loss

If you believe your parent is experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, scheduling an appointment with his or her primary care physician is important. 

Dietary Considerations for a Person Over 65 With Prediabetes

There are some important dietary considerations to bear in mind if your parent is a person over 65 with prediabetes. We discuss a few of these considerations to provide some basic guidance to you and your parent about diet and prediabetes. 

Worst Breakfast

If your parent has prediabetes, the worst breakfast foods he or she can eat are:

  • Bagels
  • Cereals (most of them)
  • Bacon

Highly refined grains like bagels made from white flour and cereals aren’t the best breakfast choices for a person with prediabetes. These food choices lack the fiber necessary to blunt a negative blood sugar response. In addition, some cereals are packed with sugar. Bacon is low in carbs but is high in saturated fat and preservatives like nitrates. A complete ban of these foods is not necessary when it comes to your prediabetic parent. They can be enjoyed occasionally but not as a steady diet.

Best Breakfast

If your parent has prediabetes, the best breakfast foods he or she can eat are:

  • Eggs
  • Avocado

When it comes to your parent with prediabetes, eggs are a good choice for breakfast because they are a good source of protein for a prediabetes diet. And while you may be nervous about the cholesterol, research shows that in the context of a healthy diet, eating eggs in moderation doesn’t have a negative effect on your heart health. Avocado also tops this list because it’s rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, heart-healthy fats that have been shown to improve fasting blood glucose levels.

Worst Lunch

Researchers have concluded that the worst lunch for a person with prediabetes is one using processed meats. 

People who eat processed as well as grilled red meats are at an increased risk of unhealthy blood sugar or glucose levels. They are at a higher risk of developing diabetes. The sodium and nitrates in processed meats may impair artery health, insulin secretion and glucose tolerance, while grilling can release chemicals that also affect insulin resistance.

Best Lunch

The best lunches for individuals with prediabetes are what are called mega-salads. 

Megasalads include items like:

  • Leafy greens
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms

In addition to these salads being a great addition to a diet for a person with prediabetes, they also are filled with vitamins, minerals and fiber. They also include thousands of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients work in numerous ways to protect your heart and keep blood sugar under control.

Worst Snacks

The worst snacks for a person with prediabetes include:

  • Beef jerky
  • Beef sticks
  • Pork rinds

According to the American Diabetes Association, “snacks like this may be a go-to for prediabetics because they’re low in carbs, but their overall nutrition profile is lacking. Typically high in saturated fat and sodium, these products can contribute to heart disease. Instead, aim to fit more nutrient-rich foods into your diet over simply carb-free ones.”

Best Snacks

Best snacks for a person with prediabetes are nuts, legumes, fresh vegetables, and certain types of fresh fruits. 

Worst Dinner

In this rushed, workaday world, many people grab some type of fast good for dinner. In fact, generally speaking, fast food is the worst choice that can be made in the way of dinner for a person with diabetes. A long-term study published in The Lancet medical journal reports that people who visited fast food restaurants more than twice a week experienced more weight gain and a two-fold greater increase in insulin resistance compared to those who frequented these types of esyablishment less than once a week. 

Best Dinner

Low-carb and low saturated fat meals are at the heart of what is the best dinner. Particular attention has been paid in recent years to the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for individuals who have been identified as having prediabetes. 

The bottom line, by understanding the basics of prediabetes, by following the recommendations of your parent’s primary care physician, by eating well and exercising regularity, an individual will bets be able to manage his or her prediabetes. Moreover, a person in this position will be more likely to prevent the progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.