Week 3: American Diabetes Awareness

November 12, 2015

Diabetes-Awareness-Month-4 (1)

American Diabetes Month is observed every November to draw attention to diabetes and its effects on millions of Americans. Diabetes is a disease that leads to high levels of blood sugar (glucose). It happens when the body does not make any or enough insulin, or does not use insulin well. Diabetes can lead to serious health problems, but people with diabetes can take steps to manage the disease and lower the chance of health problems. The National Diabetes Education Program’s 2015 theme: “Diabetes Education and Support: Everyone Has a Role. What’s Yours?” highlights the need for ongoing diabetes education and support among people with diabetes and those who care for them.

Fast Facts About Diabetes:

• Total: 29.1 million people or 9.3 percent of the U.S. population have diabetes.

• Diagnosed: 21.0 million people.

• Undiagnosed: 8.1 million people (27.8 percent of people with diabetes who are undiagnosed).

Source: CDC’s National Diabetes Statistics Report 2014.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, the National Diabetes Education Program notes it is common to feel o ve r w h e l m e d , sad, or angry when you are living with diabetes. You may know the steps you should take to stay healthy, but have trouble sticking with your plan over time. Two tips to remember when learning to cope with your diabetes is by eating well and staying active:

Eat well

• Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team.

• Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt.

• Eat foods with more fiber, such as whole grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta.

• Choose foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, bread and cereals, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese.

• Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.

• When eating a meal, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables; one quarter with a lean protein, such as beans, or chicken or turkey without the skin; and one quarter with a whole grain, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta.

Stay active

• Set a goal to be more active most days of the week. Start slow by taking 10 minute walks, 3 times a day.

• Twice a week, work to increase your muscle strength. Use stretch bands, do yoga, heavy gardening (digging and planting with tools), or try push-ups.

• Stay at or get to a healthy weight by using your meal plan and moving more.

Most importantly, speak with your health care team. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about your diabetes and report any changes in your health.