November is National Diabetes Month, a time to bring attention to diabetes.
November is National Diabetes Month, a time to bring attention to diabetes. In partnership with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), this year’s focus is on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and 84 million have prediabetes. 90-95% of diabetes in America is type 2 diabetes that started out with prediabetes. The good news is prediabetes can be reversed! Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it. Type 2 diabetes results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin.
Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
• Adults with diabetes have a two- to three-fold increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
• Combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy (nerve damage) in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers, infection and eventual need for limb amputation.
• Diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. 2.6% of global blindness can be attributed to diabetes.
• Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure.
Developing type 2 diabetes as an adult is not only about eating habits. Several lifestyle factors — including stress — can put you at a greater risk of developing the disease.
Two types of stress can change blood sugar levels:
• Physical stress
• Mental or emotional stress
Each type of stress affects blood sugar levels differently. Physical stress generally causes blood sugar levels to increase. Physical stress includes:
Mental or emotional stress has mixed effects, depending on the type of diabetes you have:
• With Type 2 diabetes: Mental stress generally increases blood sugar levels.
Stress also can affect your blood sugar levels indirectly by causing you to forget about your regular diabetes care routine. When you're stressed out, you might:
• Exercise more or less
• Eat more or less
• Eat less healthy foods
• Not test your blood sugar level as often
• Forget or delay a dose of medication and/or insulin
In order to reverse prediabetes or management diabetes it’s important to start making healthy changes and you will get rewards right away. After taking just one walk, your blood sugar goes down. Making physical activity a habit improves your sleep.
Eating healthy is a key ingredient in the fight against diabetes. Find ways to enjoy the taste of fresh, healthy food. Some things you can ask yourself…Do you prepare your meals ahead of time, or decide in the moment what to eat? How comfortable are you with reading a nutrition label? How often do you eat out and where? What makes it easier for you to eat healthier? And what makes it harder?
Make a plan. You’ve probably noticed that someone who follows a popular diet plan might quickly lose weight, but has a hard time keeping it off long term. This is common and discouraging, so design a plan that you can follow for life. It doesn’t need to be popular or have a name.
Your plan only needs two key ingredients to work: 1. It should be based on healthy eating. 2. It should be something you can keep doing.
People often need to try different things to create a plan that works for them. Some may cut back on sugar and eat more protein to stay fuller longer. Others may focus on crowding out unhealthy food with extra fruits and vegetables. Still others take the guesswork and temptation out of life by sticking to just a few breakfast and lunch choices that they know are nutritious. The details will depend on what you like and what fits in best with your life. Just make sure you practice portion control. And chew your food thoroughly as it aids in digestion and signals the brain sooner that you are full.
Cut out or limit processed foods such as packaged snacks, packaged meat, chips, granola bars, sweets, and fast foods, Trans fat, found in things such as margarine, snack food, packaged baked goods, and many fried foods, sugary drinks such as fruit juice, sports drinks, soda and alcohol
When eating out look at the menu and nutrition info online before you go. Decide what you’re going to order before you go to a restaurant so you’re not tempted by the look and smell of less healthy choices. Avoid buffets and ask your server how food is prepared before deciding what to order. Ask for veggies instead of fries or other high calorie side dishes. Choose baked, steamed, grilled, or broiled instead of fried. Share your main dish with a friend or eat half of it and wrap up the rest to take home to eat later. Order sauces, salad dressing, or spreads on the side, and use sparingly. Avoid items that seem healthy but aren’t, such as salads loaded with dressing, cheese, croutons, and bacon.
Control your carb intake and increase your fiber intake. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Similar to sugar-sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened (diet) beverages are linked to obesity and may increase the risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.
Here are some natural things that help you reverse prediabetes or manage your diabetes.
A recent study at Oklahoma University showed people with diabetes who ate raspberries along with a meal had significantly lower blood glucose two to four hours after eating them. After a month of eating raspberries participants inflammation markers and blood pressure were reduced as well.
A few studies have suggested that alpha-lipoic acid supplements may enhance the body's ability to use its own insulin to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. ALA may help reduce the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy -- nerve damage that can be caused by diabetes.
Magnesium has also been shown to benefit blood sugar levels, and magnesium deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Chromium a mineral that is involved in carb and fat metabolism. It also helps control blood sugar levels, and a lack of chromium may predispose you to carb intolerance.
Studies show cinnamon can also lower blood sugar levels by up to 29%. An effective dose is 1–6 grams of cinnamon per day, or about 0.5–2 teaspoons and make sure it is Ceylon cinnamon because the cassia cinnamon contains a lot of coumarin, which can be toxic in large quantities. It is much safer to choose Ceylon if you eat a lot of cinnamon. So, the next time you buy cinnamon check the labels and get the ceylon type.
Getting grounded helps reduce inflammation which contributes to insulin resistance. It also increases blood flow which help in wound healing in diabetics.
Remember, portion control, consistent exercise, minimizing stress, eliminating mineral deficiencies and reaching for natural remedies all after clearance from your doctor work together to successfully help you manage high blood sugar and improve your overall health.
So Ace Your Health "You're Worth It!"