Diabetes What you Need to Know

DIABETES??  What You NEED To Know!
By Dr. Nanette Bowles

Here’s how some unfortunate but common conversations might look:
   Diabetes?  It’s no big deal!
                    Diabetes?  What IS it?
                                    Diabetes?  I have Type what?
                                                    Diabetes?  She really died from it?

Years ago I was at an evening social function when a woman came in with her two young grandchildren.  She sat at the table with her plate of food but seemed dazed.  She fumbled around trying to cut her food and acted as though she could not see in front of her.  I went over to assist and found out that she was diabetic and had not eaten all day!  Her grandchildren sat and watched in fear as we quickly got her to drink some orange juice.  She explained that she “just didn’t have time to eat”.

We all get busy but I wonder how many of us have time to pass out from low blood sugar.  Do we have time to adjust to losing our vision or a limb due to diabetes related complications?  Do we have time for a heart attack, stroke or death??

image bing.com

image bing.com

Diabetes IS a big deal but so often not taken serious enough.  Approximately 25.8 million people have diabetes but about 7 million are still undiagnosed.  Another 79 million have “pre-diabetes” which, if not taken serious enough and controlled, can lead to diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes “is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that results in defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin”.  Whether you understand the medical aspect of this or not, please understand that uncontrolled diabetes can kill you!

In 2007, diabetes contributed to approximately 230,000 deaths.  Complications can include:

  • Heart Disease-death rates 2-4 times higher
  • Stroke-risk is 2-4 times higher
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Blindness-leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74
  • Kidney Disease-Leading cause is diabetes
  • Nervous System Disease-60-70% have mild to severe damage
  • Amputation-60% nontraumatic lower-limb amputations

The American Diabetes Association has a Diabetes Risk Test: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/diabetes-risk-test/

Ok, so here are some basic tips for all of us, whether we have diabetes or not:

  1. Get checked by your Doctor…especially if you have any of the symptoms listed above.  Putting it off or ignoring it will NOT make it go away.  The sooner you know, the better.
  2. Eat Healthy (see the top 10 diabetes Superfoods at http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/diabetes-superfoods.html)Lots of fruits and veggies, especially non-starchy ones like spinach, carrots, broccoli or green beans. Include dried beans and whole grain foods instead of high processed foods.
    Include more fish (2-3/week) and remove skin from poultry
    Choose non-fat dairy products and water or diet drinks to sugary ones.
  3. Exercise – 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, coupled with 5-10% in body weight, can produce a 58% reduction in diabetes.
  4. Maintain a Healthy Weight – This can help improve your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.  Losing just 10-15 lbs can make a difference.  You know what you’re thinking..JUST 10-15 lbs…Could you do it if your life depended on it…because it just might!
  5. Get Support – This will not necessarily prevent diabetes but a good support system is always a benefit.

To learn more about diabetes, and possibly save your life, please go to the American Diabetes Association website at http://www.diabetes.org/.