I’m sure that each and every one of you is familiar with diabetes and has a member of your family or a friend who is affected by this disease. I hope you will take the time to examine your lifestyle and do what you can to help prevent Type 2 diabetes. I’m going to start with prevention—that can apply to all of us—whether we’re at risk or not, that can help us make healthy choices not only to prevent diabetes, but to improve our overall health in so many ways and to help prevent complication. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar. Your body either resists the effects of insulin (a hormone) or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level. Unlike Type 1, where the body doesn’t produce insulin, Type 2 is more common in adults but increasingly affects children as childhood obesity increases.
• Eat healthy foods. Choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
• Get physical. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day.
• Lose excess pounds. Losing 7 per cent of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes. its. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits—healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.
• Increased thirst and frequent urination.
• Increased hunger.
• Weight loss.
• Blurred vision.
• Slow-healing sores or frequent infections.
• Areas of darkened skin.
See your primary care professional as soon as you notice any signs of type 2 diabetes. Some risk factors cannot be changed—i.e. family history, race, age, gestational diabetes, or polycystic ovary syndrome. So, work on the modifiable factors such as weight and inactivity to prevent developing type 2 diabetes.
Why? Although long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually, they can eventually be disabling or even life-threatening. Some of the potential complications of diabetes include:
• Heart and blood vessel disease.
• Nerve damage (neuropathy).
• Kidney damage (nephropathy).
• Eye damage.
• Foot damage.
• Hearing impairment.
• Skin conditions.
• Alzheimer’s disease.
Please see me if you have any questions, concerns or need any assistance in maintaining good health.
Your Parish Nurse,
Mary Ann Martin, RN, BAS, FCN