What Does Diabetes Look Like?

Do you know someone who has diabetes? Most of us do, even if we aren’t aware of it. It may be your coworker, your cousin or your neighbor. The obesity epidemic has recently pointed a spotlight at type 2 diabetes which can be delayed or even prevented by diet and activity changes or losing weight. But type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, strikes those who haven’t had a chance to make poor food choices, like very young children, or those who are physically active and at normal weight. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the pancreas, ultimately disabling it. Because the pancreas can no longer produce insulin, these people have no alternative but to test their blood with finger pricks several times a day and inject insulin to control their blood glucose level. Diabetes Awareness Month aims to educate us about those who live with this disease every day, 24 hours a day. There is no vacation from diabetes. Since the discovery and the medical availability of insulin in 1921 lives have been prolonged and diabetics are able to lead more normal lives, but there is still no cure. The treatments have progressed to include continuous glucose monitors that alleviate finger pricks and allow diabetics to more closely monitor glucose levels. Insulin pumps are becoming more mainstream and more common so that diabetics can program the amount of insulin delivered at any given point in time and make adjustments more quickly. But, the ability for these two devices to communicate doesn’t exist yet so diabetics must still track information and program insulin...

Hey Tough Guy! Are You Avoiding the Doctor? You May Want to Rethink That Plan!

There just aren’t enough hours in a day! You’ll make that doctor’s appointment another day, right? Especially because nothing hurts and you have no pain, aches, bumps, or bruises? Think again! It is all too common for men to skip their annual visits to their doctors, which could be a big step in the wrong direction. Although we all like to believe that since we feel fine there must be nothing wrong, there are far too many health risks and potential diseases for men to ignore their doctors, and their health altogether. June is Men’s Health Month and we encourage all men to take precautions and check up on your health! Preventative medical tests can detect diseases early, before they start to cause the aches and pains that would send someone to the doctor immediately. Here are some recommendations for screening tests and lifestyle adjustements to consider so that you can take control of your health now and prevent illness later: Check your cholesterol levels regularly, especially after the age of 20. Having high cholesterol puts men at a greater risk for heart disease and should be checked every five years, or more often if your cholesterol is high. Keep a close eye on your body weight, activity level and diet, as these lifestyle choices have a direct effect on cholesterol levels. Consider taking the Fasting Plasma Glucose Test to screen for type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. If you are experiencing increased thirst and frequent urination, as well as weight loss and increased hunger, you may be experiencing diabetes symptoms. As with many other diseases, warning signs are not...

A Step-by-Step Guide to Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Do you know your risk of developing type 2 diabetes?  If you are obese your risk is 20 times higher than that of someone of more moderate weight.  Not only will your weight increase your chances of developing diabetes, but if you have diabetes and are overweight, you increase your odds of heart disease and stroke.  Most people (90%) who have type 2 diabetes are overweight.  Diabetes is not only a hassle to manage but can lead to serious long term health problems including blindness, kidney failure and foot or leg amputations. You can prevent, and possibly reverse, the illness just by losing weight. November is Diabetes Awareness Month and a great time to take better care of yourself by following some of these tips to prevent type 2 diabetes.  Losing just 10% of your body weight dramatically improves your health and reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes.  Here’s how to get started: Walking – Start out slowly by taking walks after dinner.  Begin with 5 minutes a day and slowly increase the amount you walk. Eat more vegetables – Increase your intake of vegetables to 5 servings per day.  Add one additional serving per week to reach your goal. Pick an activity – Choose something you love to do so you’ll stick with it, like dancing, hiking or goofing around in the yard with your kids. Read food labels – Many packaged foods contain high levels of sugar and sodium so choose prepared foods with care. Get more physical activity – Take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther away from the store. Eat smaller...

Can We Stop Obesity From Starting So Early?

When did you first become addicted to french fries? To chips and ice cream? For many American children it was probably before they can remember. Food addictions, while prevalent now, are not part of our genetic makeup.  They are learned behaviors that can be reversed. This month  is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and the focus is on preventing and correcting the obesity epidemic that is now a problem not just for adults, but for our children. Nearly one in three children in the United States is overweight and obese, leaving them at risk for adult health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. The increase in childhood obesity appears to be slowing, but how do we help those children who are already obese and overweight? Recent research conducted by the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and at Massachusetts General Hospital shows that food addiction can be reversed. You, and your child, can learn to crave salads instead of french fries.  Ideally, children would never learn to crave junk food, but if they do and it’s more than likely that they will, we can help them to undo that habit.  Obesity can be prevented and you can help. Provide smaller portions at mealtimes with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Encourage daily activity at home and at school. Support your school’s efforts to provide healthier menu options. A lifetime of eating habits begins with what you put on the table and how you act every day. Set a good example and help your child live a long, healthy life. Reach for the...

Are You Trying to Prevent Diabetes?

Did you know that the total cost of all diagnosed diabetes the United States is $245 billion a year?  If you don’t have diabetes, you probably know at least one person who does.  And if you are the typical American who is overweight and has high cholesterol and blood pressure, you are headed down the path of pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.  You can do a lot to prevent it, even if it is just preventing yourself from developing it.  November is Diabetes Awareness Month sponsered by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).  The ADA estimates that 26 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, both juvenile or type 1 diabetes and adult onset or type 2 diabetes.  In addition, another 79 million have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  If you aren’t sure whether this is you or how high your risk is, the ADA provides an online tool to calculate your risk of developing diabetes so you can see where you stand. If you know you are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, either because you have had a high blood glucose (blood sugar) test result, because your doctor has already told you, or you just took the risk calculator and the results came out a bit too high for your comfort, what do you do next?  Here are some steps you should take immediately to get off the type 2 diabetes track and onto the long, healthy life path: Change your diet to include more fruits and vegetables and fewer salty, sugary processed foods. Increase your activity level by walking, biking and moving...