What You Can Do To Take Control
Originally posted by Veterans’ Health – Spring 2013 (www.visn10.va.gov)
More than 25 million Americans have diabetes. Among adults in Ohio, the number has increased by more than 50 percent from 2000 to 2010. Diabetes raises the risk of death and stroke by two to four times. It’s also the leading cause of new cases of blindness in people ages 20 to 74 and the leading cause of kidney failure. People who have diabetes are more at risk for other illnesses. For instance, they’re twice as likely to have depression. The good news is that there are many things you can do to prevent type 2 diabetes or to better manage it if you have it.
Maintain a healthy weight or move toward a healthier weight: Losing just 5 percent of your weight can greatly reduce your risk. If you weigh 200 pounds, this would mean losing only 10 pounds. Shed extra pounds by eating smaller portions and choosing lower calorie foods.
Be active: Aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. You can break it up into a few minutes at a time, but try to get some exercise every day. Always talk with your health care team before starting any exercise program.
Make healthy choices: Eat more fruits and veggies and whole grains, like oatmeal and whole wheat bread. Bake, broil or grill your foods and limit added fats and sugars. Avoid sugary drinks and choose water instead.
Reduce your risks: Some factors that increase your risk for diabetes can’t be controlled. These include such things as being older than 45 or having a family history of diabetes. But you do have control over others. Untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk of both obesity and type 2 diabetes. If you manage high blood pressure and cholesterol and triglyceride levels, you can also reduce your risk.
Get educated: Attend a diabetes self management program at your local VA. Or schedule a visit to see a dietitian or diabetes case manager. Even if you’ve had education in the past, there’s always new information about this disease. See page 11 for more details.
Stay active: Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your blood glucose control. It also helps you manage blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.
Follow a healthy meal plan: Making healthy food choices can help you get blood glucose in your target range and prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Making small changes to your diet is a good step in controlling weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Try one of the diabetic friendly recipes on page 5.
Check your blood glucose: This lets you see how well you’re controlling your diabetes, and it can help you make better food choices. Bring your blood sugar readings to your doctor visits; this will help your health care team to help you better manage your disease.
Take your medications: Some people with diabetes don’t need any medications, while others need to take medications to control their blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol as well as other health problems. You should take all medications as prescribed.
Prevent complications: Diabetes management involves more than just blood glucose control. It’s also important to manage blood pressure and cholesterol. Regular foot care, eye screenings and simple urine tests can lead to early detection and treatment, reduce your risk or prevent other problems.