Wednesday, August 22, 2007
As it stands now, diabetes is one of the more vexing problems that health care professionals deal with. At once, it is frighteningly common with 20 million carrying the diagnosis and the number still growing. In fact, around 6 million people don't even know they have it. The disease is linked to heart problems, stroke, blindness and kidney disease. At the same time, though, it is an extremely manageable problem, perhaps more so than many other diseases.
For diabetics, there are really five important tips to keep in mind:
1) Know your medications. Be familiar with the medications and understand their interactions and side effects
2) Build a power team of health care professionals, including doctors, nurses and nutritionists. Doctors are important but it is the nurses and nutritionists who will really help manage your disease day to day.
3) Keep levels in check. Certainly, if you are at risk for diabetes because of your weight or family history, get a fasting glucose test. A normal level should be less than 100. If you are diabetic, make sure to get something known as A1C tested which gives a longer-term look at your blood sugars. Of course, know your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A1C should be less than 7 percent, blood pressure less than 120/80 and cholesterol levels less than 200 - some doctors say even lower. Also, make sure to get a proper eye exam every year and check your feet every day for any non-healing sores.
4) Stay active. Diabetes is not a death sentence. Get active and stay active. A diabetic can benefit from as little as 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
5) Finally, a good diet. You will read a lot about diabetic diets, and it is important to pay attention to the basics of glucose control. Make sure, though, to get plenty of fruits and veggies and watch your risk factors for heart disease as well.
Truth is, we do have a problem with diabetes in this country and it can lead to heartache and suffering. Still, with what we already know, we can greatly reduce death and disability and give people back normal and healthy lives. Are any of you diabetics? How have you been able to manage your disease?
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