In honor of November being Diabetes Awareness Month, we are featuring a guest post from Littleton Regional Healthcare’s Certified Diabetes Educator, Lucy Gordon. Check it out!
Did you know 30.3 million Americans or 9.4% of the population have diabetes? Of the people with diabetes 95% of them have the type called Type 2. Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be prevented. There are 86 million Americans who live with pre-diabetes; that means they are very close to having the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. You could be at risk for type 2 diabetes if you are overweight; get little exercise; have family members with diabetes; smoke or drink alcohol and have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Diabetes is a condition where the glucose, or fuel, in your blood is higher than normal. When glucose is too high in the blood it damages your blood vessels and can cause the blood vessels to become sticky and plugged up. If you think of your blood vessels like a hose that carries all the good stuff you need around your body, imagine what happens when the hose is plugged or filled with thick fluid? Your body depends on clean and healthy blood vessels for you to think clearly; to keep your heart, lungs and kidneys working at their best and to lower your chances for getting an infection and having serious health problems with your eyes or skin as your body gets older.
Managing your risks for diabetes is about planning for your future. You will need healthy blood vessels to live a long and healthy life with few or no health problems. People who ignore their risks sometimes find out they have diabetes after they start having problems. They can still reduce their chance for serious problems but they may have blood vessels with more damage.
To reduce your risks for having type 2 diabetes; learn how to eat healthy; choose lots of fruits and vegetables; lean protein and foods made from whole grains. Also try to avoid drinking and eating foods high in sugars like soda; sugary high caffeine drinks; shakes and desserts and candies. Find out what your ideal body weight should be and think of ideas to lose weight if you think that’s important. Get a lot of exercise every day; target at least 1 hour of aerobic exercise. Think about stress and work to reduce the stress in your life by getting at least 7-8 hours of good sleep every night. Consider finding healthy ways to reduce stress: some ideas are meditation; exercise; dancing; music; yoga and mindfulness breathing strategies; even just laughing and enjoying quality time with friends; pets and family.
Even if you do everything you are supposed to you may still end up getting type 2 diabetes. People do live long and healthy lives with type 2 diabetes but they have to pay attention to their skin; diet; exercise; weight; take medication and keep appointments and tests scheduled with their doctors; dentist; foot and eye doctors. Finding out who knows a lot about diabetes is the best way to learn more about it; a certified diabetes educator is specialized in the care of people with diabetes and can help. There are classes for learning more about diabetes if you have pre-diabetes or diabetes’ look for a diabetes program that is accredited so you know it meets the standards of quality care. If you search the web go to reliable trusted web sites. The more you learn about what it is the better you will be to handle it and understand the decisions you need to make to have a long and healthy life.
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