Managing diabetes for life
By Katie Sciba
Nov. 18, 2016 at midnight
Diabetes is a fast growing disease in this country, and 25.9 percent of Americans 65 and older have been diagnosed with diabetes.
In 2012, 9.3 percent of Americans had diabetes. Once you are diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, you must learn to manage it and live with it. Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States (as of 2010), and there is much research and advocacy to stop the growth of this disease. There is a lot of research out there, and I encourage you to do your own research as you take charge of your health care.
Here are a few facts about diabetes
• Type 1 - The body does not make insulin. We all need insulin to process the sugar from foods we eat and turn it into energy. You will need to take insulin every day. If you have Type 1 Diabetes, monitoring you blood glucose levels, administering your insulin, exercising, and controlling your nutrition is essential.
• Type 2 - The body does not make or use insulin well. This is the most common type of diabetes, and you may need to take medication or insulin to control it. Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented because people who are overweight and inactive are more likely to develop this type of diabetes.
Top five ways to manage your health with diabetes as a factor:
1. Create a Plan for Nutrition: Eat the right amount at the right times. Check your portion size. Eat less fat and more fiber. Eat a vegetables and fruit every day. Use resources like eatright.org, diabeteseducator.org, and diabetes.org to learn about meal plans, find recipes and make a personalized plan for your nutrition.
2. Make a Plan of Action: Physical activity can help control blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight. Staying active can help prevent problems with your heart and nerve function because it increases blood circulation.
3. Prepare for Emergencies: Have a supply of medication and testing supplies readily available.
4. Cultivate a good relationship with your health care team. This way if you get sick or you notice changes, you can address this immediately with good communication.
5. Protect your health and prevent complications by getting a flu shot, wash your hands often, and avoid contact with sick people.
Managing diabetes for life is difficult and the disease affects decisions you make in every area of your life. You can do it by taking the management of it seriously, planning ahead, and following through with your plans. Ask your family and your healthcare team to support you especially during the holidays.
AARN Health Services and Home Instead are sponsoring Be a Santa to a Senior again this year. You can go to Walgreens, Sonic, Shop the World, or New First National Bank and find an ornament wish card on a tree there. Up until December 12, you can purchase a gift for a Senior adult in our community and be part of making their holiday season brighter!
Katie Sciba is a writer, a licensed social worker, a pastor's wife and a mother from Victoria. She works for AARN Health Services and blogs online at Always Simply Begin.