ActiveYou: November is Diabetes Awareness Month

posted by Brent Brown on November 1, 2019 AH diabetes

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, like heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure yet for diabetes. But, losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help if you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education and support, and keeping health care appointments can also reduce the impact of diabetes on your life.

What can you do if you have Type 2 diabetes?

It can be hard to accept that you have diabetes.

It’s totally normal to feel sad or angry. Talking about your feelings with your doctor or health care provider can really help you cope.

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, try making healthy food choices and try to lose weight if you’re overweight. It’s also good to get regular exercise.

If you have type 2 diabetes:

• See your doctor or health care provider. Regular checkups are important to monitor your health.

• Test your blood sugar levels. You have a better chance of keeping your blood sugar in your target range if you know what your levels are from day to day.

• Keep high blood pressure and high cholesterol under control. This can help you lower your risk of heart and large blood vessel disease.

• Quit smoking. This can help you reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

This can all seem like a lot to do, especially at first. So, ask for help if you need it!

It is also important to note that type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease, and different care is required.

Could you have prediabetes?

In the U.S. 84.1 million adults have prediabetes. That’s more than one in three. And 90 percent don’t even know it!

• Prediabetes means your blood glucose (sugar) is higher than normal.

• Most people who get type 2 diabetes have prediabetes first.

The good news is that lifestyle changes may help you get your blood sugar back to normal and avoid or delay type 2 diabetes. The keys to success? Keeping a healthy weight, choosing healthy foods, and staying active. A blood test can tell if you are at risk for diabetes. Talk to your doctor to learn more about screening for prediabetes and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Note: The information provided by the ActiveHealth Management health and wellness program is general in nature. Our programs, care team and care managers do not provide diagnostic or direct treatment services. We assist you in getting the care you need and our program is not a substitute for the medical treatment and/or instructions provided by your health care providers. If you have specific health care needs or would like more complete health information, please see your doctor or other health care provider.

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