Managing Type 2 Diabetes: How to Juggle a Diabetes Diagnosis With Other Medical Issues

How to deal with multiple diagnoses including diabetes

Even if you're caring for someone who's still sharp as a tack, he may suffer from age-related ailments such as poor vision, arthritis, or hearing impairment, which can make managing a diabetes diagnosis a greater challenge.

More serious conditions, such as a heart attack, stroke, cancer, or such health problems as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or obesity, can further interfere with an older adult's diabetes self-care regimen and speed up the progression of common diabetes complications. In turn, diabetes can make the symptoms of other health conditions worse.

  • Get expert medical advice. An older adult dealing with multiple diagnoses is usually best served by seeing a geriatrician, a doctor who specializes in treating the health concerns of the aging. Schedule an appointment to discuss prioritizing medical conditions, setting goals, addressing independence and quality-of-life concerns, using effective treatments, and improving or maintaining body function and well-being.
  • Simplify pill taking. Help him deal with multiple diagnoses by setting up a streamlined system for taking pills. Also discuss any possible adverse drug interactions with his diabetes doctor or pharmacist. For specific ideas, see the article on following medication recommendations.
  • Seek help from other health professionals. Find out from a diabetes educator or an exercise physiologist whether mobility issues such as arthritis or cardiovascular complications will make activity difficult. You can have these pros develop an appropriate exercise program for the person in your care.
  • Address your friend or relative's specific needs. Supply a tape recorder if he has vision loss, so he can check medical information and keep records. Make sure a hearing-impaired patient receives a written record of any medication or treatment information. Learn communication techniques that can take the frustration out of interactions with an older adult who has Alzheimer's disease as well as a diabetes diagnosis.