Team Up: Let’s Beat Diabetes Together
October 08, 2019
Alarming numbers: about one in 10 Americans is diabetic, one in three is prediabetic. Seniors need to watch for symptoms.
“Diabetes is definitely known to increase the risk of dementia, gum disease, dental disease and hearing loss,” said Michael Guzman, MD, CHI Health primary care provider. “It has also been linked to a modest increase in certain cancer risks.”
The symptoms Dr. Guzman sees most often: kidney disease, heart and blood vessel disease, eye disease, foot ulcers, nerve pain and loss of nerve sensation (numbness).
He recommends testing if diabetes runs in your family and said doctors are split on screening criteria for others. “A summary of a few opinions is to screen people who have a family history, who are overweight (BMI more than 25) and between the ages of 40 to 70.” Others advise screening for anyone over the age of 45.
Treatment can vary for seniors as well. Dr. Guzman said with too aggressive control of blood sugar, risks to older patients include dizziness, passing out, falls, fractures and hospitalizations. “Further complicating our risk calculation is seniors being at a significantly higher risk of heart attack and stroke.”
His suggestion: work closely with your physician to bring your blood sugar numbers down and to avoid complications. “Good diet, exercise and the right medicines are usually very effective in all but the most difficult cases.”
Sweet Treat: Bake with Less Sugar
Experts say sugar can be reduced by about a third without affecting quality. In tests, chocolate chip cookies with 75% less sugar were still tasty. Tips for cutting back:
- Use sugar as a topping to increase sweetness with the least amount of sugar. Roll cookies in sugar before baking while cutting back in the recipe.
- Sugar helps baked goods retain water, so adjust for reduced sugar by increasing bananas or zucchini in your quick breads. Or add a bit of milk to your cake.
- Reduced sugar means reduced caramelization. Chilling cookie dough for at least 30 minutes before baking increases caramelization during baking.
- Sugar contributes to overall flavor, not just sweetness. Add extra spices, fruits, nuts, or extracts to compensate.
- The less sugar you use in cookies, the less they will spread — and that makes a cakey cookie. For crispy cookies, try making the batter extra thin.