Diabetes is a “major health problem” for America, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s one of the top 10 causes of death in the country and a leading contributor to new cases of health issues like blindness, cardiovascular disease and kidney failure.

More than 2.4 million people in Florida alone are living with diabetes, according to the Florida Diabetes Advisory Council. Almost 6 million more in the state also have prediabetes, which can increase one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Those numbers are only expected to grow. Already, the percentage of people living with diabetes in Florida has more than doubled in the past two decades, increasing from 5.2% in 1995 to 11.2% in 2014, according to the Florida Diabetes Advisory Council.

By 2050, the CDC estimates that diabetes will affect one in three adults. As age is a key risk factor for developing diabetes, according to the CDC, this will be a major issue for Florida’s economy and healthcare system. Florida is home to more adults age 65 and older than any other state, says the Florida Diabetes Advisory Council.

Living With Diabetes

Diabetes doesn’t just affect one’s health. There are also psychological and lifestyle consequences of having to stay diligent about tracking one’s glucose levels, administering insulin and constantly monitoring food intake, exercise and other day-to-day activities.

Compared to chronic diseases like dementia, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), people living with diabetes have had more options for managing their care at home. But new technology is making it even easier, faster and less invasive to check blood glucose levels, self-administer insulin and prevent complications caused by the disease.

Here are three emerging technologies that will help more seniors living with this chronic disease in Florida enjoy a higher quality of life now and in the years to come.

  1. Smarter, Better Insulin Formulas and Delivery Devices – Brands like Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly and the French biotechnology company Adocia are working on faster-acting insulins that use ingredients like vitamin B3 to increase the body’s speed of absorption, according to the peer-reviewed journal Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics.Other companies, like JDRF and Sanofi, are developing “smart” insulin that can automatically track and respond to glucose levels in the body. Smart pens that include bolus calculators, real-time health information and historical data are also changing how people track and self-administer care.These advancements don’t just help the patient, they also help doctors and caregivers. New apps that automatically send messages about insulin doses, glucose readings and other health alerts help family members and physicians ensure they’re administering the best, most personalized care.
  2. New Insulin Delivery Methods – Despite the time and discomfort, most people living with diabetes get their insulin treatments via a subcutaneous injection. Some companies want to change that. Brands like Novo Nordisk and Oramed are working on oral insulin formulas strong enough to survive the digestion process and still deliver results. Others are working on insulin formulas that can be inhaled rather than injected.
  3. Additional Advancements – Artificial intelligence and cloud technology are also changing how people with diabetes monitor and control their symptoms. Medtronic’s Sugar.IQ is a smart diabetes assistant that tracks data like food intake and glucose levels to analyze trends and make treatment suggestions. Other brands are using “the cloud” to consolidate healthcare records and integrate information. Blockchain, the technology that powers the bitcoin currency, also has the potential to change how people living with chronic diseases in Florida and the entire country manage their care. In one Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics scenario, each block in the blockchain could be used to store and share an individual’s health information, ensuring the patient and his or her providers are all working with the most up-to-date data.

As exciting as these advancements are, sometimes the daily efforts of tracking and managing diabetes symptoms at home can become overwhelming. At this point, it may be time to consider moving into an assisted living community that specializes in caring for people with chronic diseases. Caregivers at Sonata Senior Living help residents get the care they need while maintaining their independence and enjoying the highest quality of life.

If you’d like to learn more about assisted living and chronic disease care in Florida contact us today →

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