Seniors in need of regular healthcare management often face health challenges that are not typical for the average adult population. For seniors with type 2 diabetes – like my grandmother – managing blood glucose levels becomes vitally important to longevity. If you are caring for an elderly adult with type 2 diabetes, it is important to consider the health issues that may further complication this condition. In our family, we found that my grandmother’s obstructive sleep apnea may have been complicating this metabolic condition.
In the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Renee Aronsohn, of the University of Chicago, comments on the findings that a person with obstructive sleep apnea can be adversely affected in terms of regulated blood glucose levels. Finding there is, indeed, an inverse relationship, many elderly adults may have been control over their diabetes by simply treating the sleep disorder first.
In our family, upon learning about the connection between sleep apnea and diabetes, we opted to take my grandmother to a sleep study specialist to determine what medical care could be provided. After several days of sleep study and evaluation, we found that may grandmother could simply use an apnea machine to aid in her breathing and oxygen levels while sleeping at night.
For some older adults, however, the need to treat obstructive sleep apnea may be more invasive. While learning about my grandmother’s condition, we learned there are also surgical treatments that can be provided to alleviate complications with sleeping and obstruction of physical respiration. While many older adults opt to forego this option, it is still a surgical alternative to consider if you are caring for a loved one with sleep apnea issues.
After taking my grandmother to the sleep study center in our area, and after starting her on an oxygen machine to aide in reducing sleep apnea, we found that her regulation of blood glucose levels was far easier. If you have a loved one who has irregular blood glucose levels, and if you find that traditional medications for diabetes are not quite as effective as you’d like, then consider the co-morbid health complications that may be playing a role. With the improvement of sleep at night, and resolution of a sleep apnea complication, you’ll often find that is all you need to improve the overall health of the elderly person in your life.
What is Type 2 Diabetes
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
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