November is National Diabetes Month, a time to build awareness for the prevention and management of this disease which impacts 29 million adult and children in the U.S. This number is expected to grow as it is estimated that 79 million people have prediabetes and are at risk for developing the disease. Although it can be troubling for you or your loved one to have diabetes, managing the disease can help to promote a long, healthy life. Here are some things you should know about diabetes:
Besides taking your medication on a regular basis even when you feel well, keeping track of your blood glucose level is necessary to avoid diabetic reactions. These reactions can occur if blood sugar levels get too high or too low. Common reactions include mood or emotion changes, blurred vision, headache or decreased mental awareness. If these symptoms are left untreated, it may lead to a seizure or unconsciousness. Learn more about diabetic reactions. [http://www.livestrong.com/article/98743-symptoms-diabetic-reaction/.]
Healthy Diet and Exercise
No matter which type of diabetes you have, understanding how different foods affect blood glucose is crucial part of disease management. You should eat a well-balanced diet. Keep track of your carbohydrate intake, as it can contribute to how much insulin is in your body. Many people try to eat no more than 60 grams at each meal. Be sure to read food labels for the total grams of carbohydrates from sugar, starch and fiber. Sugar doesn’t have to be avoided all together. Small amounts of sugar can be substituted for other foods containing carbohydrates in your diet. Don’t forget to exercise; it helps your muscles use sugar for energy, as well as helps your body use insulin more efficiently. Exercise can actually lower your blood sugar level. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what exercise is right for you.
High Blood Pressure or Cholesterol
Having diabetes also means you are at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. You can prevent a heart attack or stroke by controlling the ABCs of diabetes. Learn More [http://ndep.nih.gov/i-have-diabetes/KnowYourABCs.aspx] Have an A1C test (average blood glucose) at least twice a year. Be sure to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol. To help reduce high levels, avoid food high in fat and sodium, stop smoking and maintain a healthy weight.
Resources for Diabetes Information
American Diabetes Association -- www.diabetes.org
National Diabetes Education Program -- http://www.ndep.nih.gov/partners-community-organization/nationaldiabetes- month/2014.aspx
Center for Disease Control -- http://www.cdc.gov/Features/LivingWithDiabetes/
Mayo Clinic -- http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-management/ART- 20047963