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Diabetes Is Not a Normal Part of Aging

By Keith Darrow December 12, 2023 Health and Fitness

I would like to take the time to acknowledge the 37 million people who live with diabetes in America today (and the additional 100 million living with pre-diabetes). They inspire us to help with the ongoing fight to develop better treatment options, ensure that life-saving medicines become more affordable, and ultimately, to find a cure for this debilitating disease.

Awareness takes on the added challenge that the Covid-19 virus brought to diabetes sufferers and the risk factors and complications that exacerbate the disease.

Studies show that nearly every family has at least one person who suffers from diabetes. This is alarming as these families must watch as a loved one progresses from dietary restrictions and exercise, to pills, to injections.

And it is my job as a hearing specialist to let you know that each of these 37 million people are at increased risk of developing hearing loss, and each of these individuals is at a 200-500% increased risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia.


What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of diabetes include:

  • ·         Increased Thirst, Hunger, and Frequent Urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Loss of Hearing Clarity
  • Slow-Healing Sores or Frequent Infections

But there is some good news here. By making small, healthy lifestyle changes, you can help to prevent type 2 diabetes. Here are some things you can start doing today:

Commit to a Healthier Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle includes getting enough sleep, increasing your physical activity, drinking more water, and eating healthier. I have created a cookbook that serves as a guide to help you through your journey of eating healthier, and would like to offer it for free to my 60 and Me friends.

Keep Track of Your Illness

Assemble a little kit for the days when your diabetes is getting you down. Include blood glucose monitoring supplies, a thermometer, tissues, ketone test strips, hand sanitizer, glucose tablets or gel, and a timer to stay on top of your glucose levels. Tailor your kit to suit your individual needs.

Lose Weight

Along with eating healthier, you will begin to lose weight. Track your progress and keep the weight off. Losing weight is an important step toward preventing diabetes.

Is It Normal or Common?

It is important to know that diabetes is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Neither is hearing loss. There is a difference between ‘common’ and ‘normal’ aspects of aging. The key is that we know the difference between these two terms and know when to speak with our physician, pharmacist, endocrinologist, and audiologist when dealing with a disease that may be ‘common’, but has a profound, negative impact on your life and health.

Get Support

For those who suffer from diabetes, it is crucial to have a support system in place. You don’t have to do it alone! Your healthcare team is there to provide education, support, specialization, treatment, and a shoulder to lean on. Tell them that you need support. Feel free to ask me questions at

What You Should Know About Diabetes and Covid-19

If you have diabetes, you should be very cautious as the resulting complications could be worse than for others. This is especially true if your diabetes isn’t well controlled. However, sometimes getting sick is beyond our control. You should have a plan in place if you do contract the virus.

  1. You will want to make sure you stay inside, get all the rest you need, and don’t overdo it.
  2. Stock up for at least two weeks. You will need enough healthy food to get by – soups, vegetables, crackers, etc.
  3. Be sure to have honey, juice and sugar-sweetened sodas on hand in case your blood sugar dips.
  4. Insulin and other medications should be filled.
  5. Have extra ketone strips and glucagon handy.
  6. Keep phone numbers for doctors visible.

Be sure to check in with your doctor to determine how often you should be checking your ketones and blood sugar levels (it will be more often than usual). Also, ask if you should be adjusting your diabetes medications and what cold remedies are safe to take. Drink more fluids and call your doctor immediately if you have moderate or large ketones, are experiencing shortness of breath or extreme weakness, vomiting, or severe stomach pain.

And always keep in mind that 37 million people living with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing dementia and hearing loss.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What do you think is a normal part of aging? Have you been told that any one health condition is specific to the aging demographic? How common is diabetes among your friends and relatives?

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The Author

Dr. Keith N. Darrow is the founder of Excellence In Audiology. He is a Neuroscientist, Clinical Audiologist and Certified Dementia Practitioner. Dr. Darrow is also a best-selling author, speaker and professor. He is passionate about helping adults prevent decline, actively age and reduce the risks associated with hearing loss. Dr. Darrow can be contacted at

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