Diabetes is a disease that is characterized by high glucose levels that result in the body’s inability to properly use or produce insulin. There are 3 different types of diabetes; type 1, type 2 and Gestational diabetes, with type 2 being the most common. More than 29 million Americans have diabetes and more than 8 million people are undiagnosed. Diabetes can be controlled with a proper diet, regular exercise, losing weight and checking blood glucose levels. However most people with this disease will progressively get worse and many patients will need to take insulin. Additionally, as people age, their risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases. This is probably due to people gaining weight and becoming more sedentary as they age.
There are many complications that can arise from not getting your blood sugar under control. These conditions include cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage which could lead to amputation, hearing problems and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Common symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, intense hunger, tingling and numbness in hands and feet, wounds that won’t heal, blurry vision and an increase in yeast infections. Women with diabetes are more prone to bladder and vaginal infections and men often experience sexual dysfunction.
So what can you do to control your diabetes?
- Lose 10 pounds- this is an achievable goal which can greatly impact your glucose levels.
- Get more exercise- walk, swim, take the stairs instead of an elevator
- Quit smoking- smoking makes diabetes harder to control
- Relax/ Rid yourself of stress – meditate, practice yoga, go for a walk
- Monitor your blood glucose levels- do this throughout the day so you can see how the changes you’ve made are making a difference and what you may need to do more of to help.
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