The Benefits of a Medical Alert System If You Have Diabetes
Diabetes is a significant problem for many Americans and people worldwide. It’s estimated more than 34 million people in American have diabetes, which is around 1 in 10. Around 88 million adults have prediabetes in the United States.
Diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t process food for energy properly. When we eat, typically the food is turned into glucose, and our body uses that for energy. Your pancreas makes insulin to help glucose in getting to your cells. If you have diabetes, your body might not make enough insulin, or it doesn’t use insulin as well as it should.
Type 1 diabetes only makes up around 5 to 10% of all cases of diabetes. This was at one time known as juvenile-onset diabetes, and there are genetic, autoimmune, and environmental factors thought to play a role in its development.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common and risk factors include older age, obesity, and a family history of diabetes. Limited physical activity and impaired glucose tolerance are also factors.
If you or your loved one has diabetes or is at risk of diabetes, there are things you can do to proactively stay safe and healthy. Along with perhaps making changes in your lifestyle, you can also consider using a medical alert system.
Many of the complications that can occur with diabetes, particularly for older people, may necessitate immediate help, highlighting the possible benefit of a medical alert system in these scenarios.
What Are the Possible Complications of Diabetes?
There are a number of complications of diabetes that can occur, and many of these can also increase your fall risk.
Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common complications. A medical alert system may be beneficial for you if diabetic neuropathy is something you struggle with.
Diabetic neuropathy can occur when high blood sugar damages your nerves. This complication of diabetes most often affects the nerves in your feet and legs. Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can include pain and numbness, and for some people, symptoms are mild. For others, diabetic neuropathy can be very painful and even debilitating.
When this complication affects your feet and legs, it can lead to an inability to feel pain or temperature changes, serious foot problems like bone and joint issues, and sharp pains and cramps.
In general, foot damage is one of the most frequently seen complications of diabetes. This can be due to nerve damage, as was mentioned with diabetic neuropathy. It can also be due to poor blood flow to the feet.
Someone with foot-related diabetes complications may develop blisters and infections, and sometimes amputation may be required.
When you have complications of diabetes, it can lead to cardiovascular disease. Having diabetes significantly raises the likelihood of cardiovascular-related problems. This can include heart attack, stroke, and coronary artery disease.
If you have diabetes, since you are at greater risk of heart attack and stroke, a medical alert system can save your life. If your loved one has diabetes, you might want to speak to them about using a medical alert system.
Diabetes complications that affect the eyes are known as retinopathy. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of your retina, and that may eventually lead to blindness. When you have diabetes, you’re also more at risk of vision conditions like glaucoma and cataracts.
A person who has type 2 diabetes may be more likely to get dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. The more your blood sugar is under control, the more you can reduce this risk. Someone with cognitive problems might need a medical alert system to stay in contact with medical services providers or their loved ones.
Hypoglycemia is a condition when your blood sugar is lower than normal. This often occurs not as a result of diabetes itself but as a complication of treatment. When someone has hypoglycemia, they need immediate treatment. That might involve having a high-sugar drink or food and taking medicine. Some people may need emergency medical attention.
The signs of hypoglycemia may include changes in heartbeat, fatigue, sweating, tingling in the face, and shakiness.
If it’s severe, signs of hypoglycemia can include confusion, visual disturbances, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
Even mild hypoglycemia in an older person can increase their fall risk.
In someone not taking diabetes medications, hypoglycemia can still occur. For example, certain illnesses like kidney disorders can be a contributing factor.
Other Complications of Diabetes
In addition to what’s mentioned above, other possible diabetes complications include:
- Kidney damage: The kidneys filter waste from your blood through a system of tiny blood vessels. Diabetes can damage those, and that may lead to kidney failure.
- Skin problems: When you have diabetes, you are more prone to get fungal and bacterial skin infections.
- Hearing problems: People with diabetes more often having different issues related to their hearing ability.
Choosing a Medical Alert System If You Have Diabetes
Medical alert systems are a discrete way to either have peace of mind for yourself if you’re dealing with complications of diabetes or to help your loved one who might be.
Nearly all medical alert systems at a minimum have a button that you can push if you’re having any kind of medical emergency. This button might be on a necklace, bracelet, or watch. There’s a central hub that is also connected to an emergency response system.
An operator will then assess the situation and dispatch help as needed.
A lot of medical alert systems, such as those available from top companies like MobileHelp also have cellular service.
MedicalAlert, another popular company, features automated fall detection features. It has in-home and on-the-go packages with cellular connectivity. It includes Wi-Fi and GPS, so it’s a comprehensive protection system.
If someone were to face a situation like hypoglycemia, they might be disoriented and unable to tell emergency responders where they are or what their address is so the GPS component of some alert systems can be especially valuable.
As diabetes is a growing health concern for many Americans, it’s important to prioritize safety and health, and well-being. If you have diabetes or someone you care about does, a medical alert system can help prevent the risks that can stem from certain complications. A medical alert system can also provide peace of mind and comfort from other worries you may have as well.