National Diabetes Month

November is the month we typically think of fall, food, football, and family gatherings. November has also become the month that we raise awareness for the disease of diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Chances are that you or someone you know has diabetes or may be at risk for developing the disease. In 2018, there were about 34 million Americans diagnosed with it and 88 million with pre-diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause for kidney failure, lower limb amputations, and adult blindness. Although the numbers are astounding and the effects of uncontrolled diabetes can be a bit frightening, diabetes is a very manageable disease with proper treatment and lifestyle changes.

Let’s review the three main types of diabetes: Type1, Type 2, and gestational. Type 1 diabetes is thought to be an autoimmune disease that causes the pancreas to stop making insulin. Typically, children, teens and young adults are diagnosed with this disease. Type 2 is when your body does not use insulin well and is unable to keep your blood sugar at normal levels; this is usually diagnosed in adults. Gestational diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy in women who have never been diagnosed with diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after delivery, but increases your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

A1C, fasting blood sugar, glucose tolerance, and random blood sugar are all types of tests that can be given to ensure proper diagnosis. Pre-diabetes is a term used when blood sugar levels are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic. Pre-diabetes does increase your risk for Type 2, stroke and heart disease. Symptoms that can be related to diabetes are: frequent urination, extreme thirst, unexplained weight loss, blurry vision, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, dry skin, slow wound healing, more infections than usual, and feeling very tired.

The good news is in knowing that diabetes can be managed well with proper support, education, and lifestyle changes. Eating well by choosing the right foods, amounts, and proper timing helps keep your blood sugar in your target range as often as possible, minimizing negative side effects. Get active by trying to achieve 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Physical activity helps your body become more sensitive to insulin and manage blood sugar levels. On two or more days per week, include muscle strengthening activities that work major muscle groups. Please speak with your health care provider before you engage in any physical activity to make sure it’s safe for you.

By choosing to effectively manage your diabetes, you minimize potential complications such as kidney failure, heart disease, nerve damage, and vision or hearing loss. Seek support; day-to-day battles with any chronic disease can often cause feelings or anxiety or sadness. If this begins to happen more often than not, please be sure to speak with your health care provider for proper support and possible treatment if needed.

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Posted: October 29, 2020

Category: Food Safety, Health & Nutrition, UF/IFAS Extension, WORK & LIFE
Tags: Diabetes, Exercise, Nutrition, Ocextension, Physical Activity, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County

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