“The wise in heart shall be called prudent; and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning” Proverbs 16:21
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. In my years as a Diabetes Educator I find most of us have had our lives touched by this increasingly prevalent disease. Whether you have been diagnosed with Type I , Type 2 , or Gestational Diabetes; been told you are “Borderline”; have a family history of Diabetes, or just have a friend challenged by Diabetes, it is important to take note of the following information:
- There is NO BORDER!! One either HAS Diabetes or DOES NOT have it. The numbers tell the story and if you have been told you are ‘borderline’, you have “Pre-Diabetes” and must take charge of your blood glucose management. Prevention at this level is most important and can keep you from having complications.
- “Apple” Shaped bodies are more susceptible to developing Diabetes. That tummy fat is often due to increased insulin resistence and increased insulin production. Waistlines over 38 inches for women and 40 inches for men are a RED FLAG for developing Diabetes.
- Diabetes is often accompanied by High Blood Sugar levels, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Obesity, & High Triglycerides. This group of diagnoses are known as “Metabolic Syndrome” and requires management.
- KNOW YOUR NUMBERS: Be aware of your laboratory results and always obtain a copy of your tests and results for your personal file. KEEP TRACK OF the following NUMBERS:
- A1C measures your average blood glucose level over the past 2-3 months. A1C target if below 7. Maintaining levels 5.9-6.5 is desirable to prevent complications.
- LDL Cholesterol (Lousy kind) builds up & clogs arteries. LDL Target is below 100.
- High Blood Pressure makes your heart work too hard. Blood Pressure Target is below 130/80
- Self Monitored Blood Glucose is important. Learn how to check your glucose at home. Vary the times you check to see what makes your glucose go up or down (meals, exercise, stress). Keep a log of varied times tested and take log to your Physician or Diabetes Educator for consult. Use these numbers to manage your diabetes. YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOUR CARE.
- Eat healthy foods. Diabetes does not mean you CANNOT EAT CERTAIN FOODS. You just need to EAT MORE WISELY. Your self-monitored glucose levels will help you see how foods work for you as well as serving sizes and timing of meals.
- Use the “MY PLATE” model to increase fruit and vegetable servings, decrease size of meat servings, and increase fiber intake. Including Whole Grains, Low Fat Milk products, and less salt and sugar is wise.
- Be Active 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week. Brisk walking is a great way to stay active.
- Learning to manage your stressors is important. If you know what causes you to feel stress (& elevate your blood glucose) learn techniques for changing the stress or your response to it. (Yoga, Meditation, Sign Chi Do)
BE AWARE—BE WISE—BE IN CHARGE
If you have questions or need assistance with Diabetes management or your numbers, please feel free to give me a call.
Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN
Parish Nurse Consultant & Diabetes Educator