T1DM can cause a reduction in intellectual function resulting from reduced blood flow to the brain, inflammation often found in diabetes, and hypoglycemia. A reduction in brain function due to diabetes can lead to behaviors that are detrimental to the health of the patient, so it's very important to have an idea of the elderly patient's ability to perform self-care for his T1DM.
To make this assessment, some form of testing of intellectual function is very valuable. It can be done at age 70 when the person is at the beginning stages of "elderly" and should be repeated at intervals, perhaps annually, to evaluate mental functioning on an ongoing basis.
An excellent test that takes just a few minutes is called the Mini-Mental State Examination. You can administer it to your loved one or even take it yourself. It was first used in 1975, and its usefulness has been validated many times since then. The Mini-Mental State Examination tests
11 Whether the person knows the correct time (day and year) and where he is (address, city and state)
Iii Whether the person can repeat items, read, write, draw, calculate, name items, and remember items previously named
Figure 17-1 shows a typical Mini-Mental State Examination with the scoring system.
A score of less than 26 (out of 30 total points) means that the person may have trouble caring for himself. You may need a nurse in the home, or the person may have to go to an assisted living facility or a nursing home.
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Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...