Diabetes: how to manage the disease wisely
Diabetes is America's seventh leading cause of death. So what is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death, but people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications.
How many Americans have diabetes and pre-diabetes?
•29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and of those 29.1 million, 8.1 million do not know they have the disease.
•Each year, about 1.6 million people ages 20 or older are diagnosed with diabetes.
•It is estimated 86 million adults aged 20 and older have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. Losing weight and increasing physical activity can prevent or delay pre-diabetes from progressing to diabetes.
1. Take your diabetes seriously.
•Diabetes can lead to serious health problems including blindness, loss of a limb, kidney failure, heart disease, and early death.
2. It's easier to manage your diabetes if you set goals and make a plan.
•Set a goal for yourself. Choose something that is important to you and that you believe you can do. Then make a plan by choosing the small steps you will take.
•Pick things you want to do and be realistic. For example, start working towards getting 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. If you have not been very active in the past, start slowly and try adding a few minutes each day.
•Build in support for yourself. Others can help you with your plan. Have regular walking dates with a friend. Share your goal to reduce calories with the person in the family who does most of the cooking. Have a family member come to your doctor's appointments. Reach out to clergy, co-workers, or friends for ideas about how to reduce stress in your life.
3. Learn to manage your blood glucose (blood sugar).
•People who keep their A1C below 7 have fewer problems with their eyes, nerves, and kidneys, and fewer heart attacks later in life. Your A1C measures your blood glucose (blood sugar) over time.
•Talk to your health care team about your blood glucose targets. Yours may be different from anyone else's. Most people, especially those who have just been diagnosed, aim for an A1C less than 7.
•The benefits of blood glucose control from the time of diagnosis last for years and can lead to fewer health problems later on. This has been called the "legacy effect."
4. Managing diabetes is not just about your blood glucose (blood sugar).
•Keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol under control can lower your risk for heart attacks and other diabetes complications.
•Keep taking your medicines that are working to control blood pressure and cholesterol.
•Talk with your health care team about taking control of your blood pressure and cholesterol.
5. Managing you diabetes may not be easy, but it is worth it.
•The day-to-day activities needed to manage diabetes can be hard. But if you keep your blood glucose as close to normal as is safe for you - what is called your target range - you can reduce your chance of serious health problems. It is worth the effort.
If you have any questions or concerns about your diabetes, call the HCHC Diabetes Education Center at 319-385-6518.
Laura's Recipe Corner:
Total Servings: six
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
-2 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
-1 tbsp. honey
-2 tsp. cinnamon
-2 tsp. grated lemon peel
-1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, honey, cinnamon, and lemon peel. Mix well. Fold in the ricotta cheese.
Refrigerate for one hour and serve.