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What You Need to Know About Beating Diabetes

We live in a world of information overload. You cannot open a magazine, access social media, or talk with friends without hearing about the latest diet, exercise program, aligning your chakras, and a host of other well-meaning health regimens. Although all of those things are important and can make our lives better, most of us will ignore the warning signs that our problem may be physical.

Cancer, heart disease, arthritis, obesity, and diabetes can result from an unhealthy lifestyle. In this blog, we will focus on diabetes.

Webster defines diabetes as a "serious disease in which the body cannot properly control the amount of sugar in your blood because it does not have enough insulin."

There are two types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 is often referred to as juvenile diabetes. It usually develops during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 develops primarily in adults and obese individuals.

According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2018, over 34 million Americans had diabetes (10.5% of the population). In 2015, over 88 million Americans, age 18 and older, were classified as prediabetic (over 25% of the population). (The statistics for Type 1 were 1.6 million including approximately 187,000 children and adolescents). Based on these statistics, we need advocates for more education regarding the types of diabetes and what can be done to prevent more Americans from developing the disease.

For those individuals who may be prediabetic, it is crucial to recognize the following symptoms:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Excess hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

Individually, they may not be a cause for concern, but having more than one symptom should prompt a discussion with your primary care physician. Just think of prediabetes as allowing you to prepare so that you do not develop diabetes.

Once you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, some steps can be taken to alleviate these symptoms:

  1. Eat a healthy diet and lose weight
  2. Exercise
  3. Stop smoking
  4. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol under control
  5. And if needed, medication

Taking these steps may prevent diabetes, but if it not, there are ways it can be managed.

The Oregon Diabetes Resource Bank lists “10 tests and exams that everyone with diabetes should be getting”:

  • A‐1‐C blood glucose (blood sugar) test (This lab test should be done every 3 to 6 months. It is different from blood testing you do yourself. The A‐1‐C tells what your blood glucose has been during the last few months.)
  • Blood pressure (at every office visit)
  • Blood test to measure “good” cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides in your blood (once a year)
  • “Dilated” eye exam to see if the blood vessels inside your eye are healthy (once a year)
  • Urine test to see if your kidneys are healthy (once a year)
  • Complete foot exam to see if the blood circulation, nerves, and skin in your feet are healthy (a complete exam once a year, a brief foot exam at every office visit)
  • Exam of your gums and teeth (every 6 months)
  • Weight (at every office visit)
  • Flu shot (at the beginning of flu season every Fall)
  • Pneumococcal vaccination (ask your doctor if you need it)

A lifestyle change is imperative to maintain your health. These changes should include:

  • Manage your diabetes ABCs – A1C test, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Stop Smoking.
  • Follow your diabetes meal plan.
  • Make physical activity part of your routine.
  • Take your medicine.
  • Check your blood glucose levels.
  • Work with your health care team.
  • Cope with your diabetes in healthy ways.

Although diabetes is a serious illness, with knowledge, a plan, and a positive attitude, it can be managed.

For more information, please check out the links below: