November is National Diabetes month. This is the time of year individuals, healthcare providers and communities come together to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of lives. Currently, there are 30 million Americans that have diabetes and there are another 84 million people who are at risk of developing diabetes.
This year the focus is on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. “Take Diabetes to Heart”. Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease leading to heart attack or stroke than people without diabetes. High blood sugar over time can damage your heart vessels and nerves that control your heart. However, there are steps you can take to help control and lower this risk.
Manage the ABC’s of Diabetes
- A1C — Follow up with your doctor every 3-6 months to check your A1C. The ADA recommends an A1C of <7% for good control.
- Blood Pressure — uncontrolled blood pressure and high blood sugar will increase your risk of having a stroke. The goal for BP 130/80.
- Cholesterol– You should have your lipid levels checked annual and take medication as Rx to protect your heart health.
All the ABC’s of diabetes can be impacted by your diet and lifestyle. First, check your blood sugar every day at different times of the day. By testing daily, you can see how what you eat impacts your readings. Aim for a fasting blood sugar of 80-130. If you test 2 hours after eating aim for 140 or less. If your numbers are consistently staying above this range notify your doctor. Second, follow a carbohydrate consistent meal plan. Include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and low-fat dairy foods daily. My motto is “all foods can fit”. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods just because you have diabetes. It is more about balance. Third, get moving. Everyone should strive for 150 minutes a week of physical activity or aim for 10,000 steps a day. Most fitness centers in town will allow you a trial pass. So, if you have been thinking of heading to the gym check them out.
Emotional support is just as important as your diet and exercise plan. Find a support system that encourages you. Summit Medical Group has a diabetes support group that meets once a quarter. Also, check out www.diabetes.org for other information.
Medicare and most insurance plans cover diabetes education. Ask your doctor for a referral. My passion is to help people understand how simple changes in your daily routine can make a huge impact on your overall health and well-being.