On the one hand, do I really want to take 15 tablets plus insulin and run the risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) or diarrhoea?
On the other hand, I need to take my medication so I can stay well for my family and enjoy my life for as long as possible.
Finding the right treatment is an important part of diabetes management for people of any age. As you get older, striking the right balance between a treatment that works towards achieveing your treatment goals and its potentially unpleasant side effects, can become trickier. Some medication for managing diabetes can cause stomach problems or make people more prone to hypoglycaemia low blood sugar).If you live alone and are becoming frail, hypoglycaemia can be a real threat to your independence.
Your choice of medication can also be limited by other health complications, such as heart or kidney disease. You may be taking medication to help prevent or manage health problems other than diabetes, like asprin to reduce your risk of cardiovascular complications, tablets for lowering blood pressure or medication to control cholesterol levels (statins). While the amount of drugs and treatment you have been prescribed may be overwhelming, there is good evidence that the benefits of taking them, may outweigh the risks, especially if you have diabetes. Your diabetes healthcare team will take a thorough look at your overall health and lifestyle before helping you to choose the right treatment for you.
The older you are, the more likely you will be to suffer diabetic foot problems, which can be very painful and debilitating. It is important that you educate yourself about how to lower your risk of developing problems with your feet. They should be examined every time you visit your diabetes healthcare team. If you have any risk factors related to diabetic foot problems, you should be looked after by a specialist foot team.
Unfortunately, as you get older it can be more difficult to make the necessary lifestyle changes to manage your diabetes. With help and support from relatives and carers, people often find the motivation to alter their eating habits and take their medication. Your diabetes healthcare team should be able to offer you more advice and the further support you need.