A Day in the Life of Diabetes
By Terry Orr
I am a type 2 diabetic and try to follow my doctors’ advice by eating, exercising and taking my medications – key word of course it trying – although doing a better job these days. For any of you who are, know family and friends or are a good candidate for having diabetes – help them anyway you can and talk with your doctor to get yourself on the right track. This is the first of six diabetes-related articles we will be posting this month.
A typical day for a diabetic begins with:
- Checking your weight;
- Check your blood sugar;
- Check your blood pressure;
- Taking your medications;
- Morning exercises (always seems to brighten my day);
- Eating a healthy, diabetic-friendly breakfast;
- Walking and climbing stairs when possible;
- Have a small healthy snack mid-morning;
- Get up from your desk, stretch and walk a little (I used my normal restroom breaks to accomplish this many days);
- Eat a well-balanced and nutritionist lunch (Frequently, I would leave my desk and walk down several flights of stair to eat in the café and return the same way afterwards);
- Walk (when the weather was nice, a couple of my friends and I took a nice walk outdoors before returning to the office – a wonderful break in routine);
- Try and have a stress-free commute home (If you can use mass transit – it is very helpful);
- Exercise (frequently after getting home and checking on everyone – do some stretching and light exercise before dinner);
- Spend time with the family;
- Enjoy a light and healthy dinner;
- Walk around the block once or twice (often with the family and chat along the way – nice way to spend some family time); and
- Go to bed early enough to allow you to get eight restful hours of sleep.
Sounds simple – but totally unrealistic for most of us – but you would be surprised with a little effort how you can blend these activities into your daily routine.
Here are just a few of the recent statistics on diabetes from the American Diabetes Association (ADA):
- Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
- Another 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $174 billion.
The Toll on Health (Fact Sheet)
- Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults.
- The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
- About 60-70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, sexual dysfunction and other nerve problems.
From the good people at CDC they offer the following information on important steps to take to control diabetes:
- Talk to your health care provider about how to manage your blood glucose (A1c), blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- Stop smoking and do not use any other tobacco products.
- Get a flu vaccine. For those with diabetes, type 1 and type 2, it is important to ask for the "shot" version. Talk to your health care provider about a pneumonia (pneumococcal) shot. People with diabetes are more likely to die from pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes. CDC recommends that everybody aged 6 months and older get a flu vaccine, including family members of people with diabetes.
- Reach or stay at a healthy weight.
- Make sure you're physically active. Plan for 2 hours and 30 minutes each week of moderate physical activity, such as walking quickly or gardening, or 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of vigorous physical activity, such as jogging or jumping rope. Add muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days each week. Physical activity can help you control your weight, blood glucose, and blood pressure, as well as raise your "good" cholesterol and lower your "bad" cholesterol.
Obesity is a Major Risk Factor. Being overweight or obese raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes include the following:
- Age 45 or older
- Developed diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes)
- Have a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Are not physically active
- Belong to certain racial or ethnic groups. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at high risk for type 2 diabetes.
People with diabetes are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year. Fast Facts from CDC:
- People with diabetes are three times more likely to die from flu complications than people without diabetes.
- Death rates from pneumonia and influenza among African-Americans with diabetes are double the death rates among whites with diabetes.
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