As people age, there is an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Recently, the American Diabetes Association released an estimate of how prevalent it is in seniors: about 25% of those over age 60 have diabetes. Proper geriatric diabetes care can help ensure the best outcome possible, including optimal wellness and quality of life. Whether the individual develops diabetes late in life or is a senior who’s had diabetes for years, the best care will focus on support for the person as a whole. It will also be customized and based on the individual’s overall health.

A functional neurologist can provide diabetes care that focuses on personalized, holistic support—exactly what seniors need. Functional neurologists look beyond regulating blood glucose levels to manage diabetes. Instead, they focus on finding the cause of blood sugar issues—the dysfunction that is the reason for the problem. There is a reason for insulin resistance or for the lack of insulin production if that is the case. With the right approach, it is possible to discover what that reason is.

A proper evaluation for diabetes in seniors will include a detailed review of health history, plus a comprehensive exam. In-depth lab testing can reveal a great deal about overall health in very specific detail. This is the kind of information a functional neurologist needs to identify causes, because there are many possible underlying reasons for chronic health problems like diabetes.

Diabetes may be the result of hormone imbalance, an enzyme dysfunction, vitamin or nutrient deficiency, pancreatic burnout or inflammation. If inflammation is a problem, there are causes for this, too, that need to be identified in order to be fully addressed. Diabetes is a complicated, chronic health problem, and it takes time, testing and expertise to sort out exactly what is happening with a senior’s health in relation to this condition.

People are often surprised to learn that there is a great deal that can be done to manage diabetes naturally. For some, weight loss—even a modest loss—can make a tremendous difference. Proper exercise or activity levels, stress management, diet, nutritional support and other lifestyle adjustments are generally a safe, inexpensive and effective way to address diabetes. But to be successful, care must be customized to meet the individual’s unique needs. This includes taking into account unique challenges related to mobility, memory, nutritional status, and other health challenges. Functional neurology addresses the person as a whole, taking advantage of every opportunity to optimize wellness and quality of life.

The best type of care for seniors who have diabetes will involve the health practitioner working together in partnership with the individual. This ensures all of the support seniors need to make necessary lifestyle changes is available, so they can achieve their health goals and enjoy optimal wellness long term.