American Diabetes Month ® 2016: This is Diabetes ™
November brings awareness to diabetes as it is Diabetes Awareness Month with World Diabetes Day being on November 14. Young and old, male and female, this chronic disease does not discriminate, so the American Diabetes Association likes to take the month to educate and promote awareness of this growing public health concern.
What is diabetes? There a couple different types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood or young adults. In this type, the body can no longer produce enough insulin, a hormone needed to send glucose into the cells of the body. Therefore, injections of insulin is necessary for all individuals with Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease and occurs most often as a result of obesity. This type of diabetes can get progressively worse over the years if the disease is not managed well. For this type, diet and lifestyle changes are the first lines therapy. If caught early and managed, many individuals can control this type of diabetes just by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. If lifestyle changes do not help,insulin therapy may be needed to help maintain normal blood sugar levels. Lastly, gestational diabetes can only occur in pregnant women. It is a form of diabetes that is typically diagnosed around the 20-24th week of pregnancy and is closely monitored. A regimen of healthy eating and regular physical activity is usually part of the plan for women with gestational diabetes, however sometimes blood glucose monitoring and medications are warranted. Gestational diabetes can affect both the mom and baby, so getting appropriate care is paramount to maintaining the health of both. This type ends after the woman delivers her baby, but can put the woman at risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
How does nutrition and diet play a role in diabetes? Nutrition and diet play an important role in each type of diabetes. What an individual eats directly affects his/her glucose levels, and thus affects his/her disease. A healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, lean protein, and low-fat milk is a must for these individuals. This regimen helps keep their disease manageable and allows them to live long, healthy lives. Individuals diagnosed with diabetes will often visit with a registered dietitian to discuss the particulars of their condition and how to adjust their diet to feel their best.
What can I do? Individuals can make sure they decrease their risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, by eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and losing weight if overweight or obese. Individuals who have loved ones who suffer from the disease can be more aware of lifestyle changes that can impact their loved one’s health. Anyone can help bring awareness to the chronic disease and learn how to identify when someone with diabetes is in trouble. The American Diabetes Association encourages individuals living with diabetes to connect through social media. They would like you or a family member to share your story about living with diabetes through social media using the #ThisIsDiabetes hashtag. For more information visit the American Diabetes Association’s website at http://www.diabetes.org/ .