Diabetes and You
According to the American Diabetes Association, over thirty-seven million Americans (More than 1 in 10 people) have diabetes. The disease occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is too high. Blood glucose is your body’s main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body does not make enough or any insulin or does not use insulin well. Glucose then builds up in your blood and damages your body.
Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. They include:
- Heart attack and heart failure
- Kidney disease and dialysis
- Eye problems including blindness
- Tooth problems
- Nerve damage
- Foot problems including amputation
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Some patients have a condition called pre-diabetes which can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle changes based on the CDC guidelines. At Providence, we offer the CDC recognized National Diabetes Prevention Program | Diabetes | CDC to support our patients learn how to make sustainable lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. You can get more information by clicking Appointments | Providence Lifestyle Change Program (square.site) or calling our diabetes education center at 866-837-5779 to get the facts about taking care of you.
The good news is that diabetes is treatable even though there is no cure. This means you can prevent serious problems by collaborating with your physician and making changes to your diet and lifestyle. Knowing your diabetes ABCs will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
A for the A1C test
The A1C test shows your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months. The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7 percent. The higher your A1C number is above 7, the higher your risk for diabetes related problems. Ask your health care team what your goal should be.
B for Blood pressure
The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 130/80 mm Hg. Ask what your goal should be.
C for Cholesterol
You have several kinds of cholesterol in your blood. LDL or “bad” cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. Too much bad cholesterol can cause a heart attack or stroke. HDL or “good” cholesterol helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels (LDL you want low and HDL you want high).
Ask your health care team what your cholesterol numbers should be. If you are over 40 years of age, you may need to take a statin drug for heart health.
Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Along with other benefits, following a healthy meal plan and being active can help you keep your blood glucose level in a safe range. To manage your blood glucose, you need to balance what you eat and drink along with physical activity and diabetes medication, if you take any. What you choose to eat, how much you eat, and when you eat are all important in keeping your blood glucose level in the range that will keep you safe.
For more information, consult your family physician or log onto the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) website at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes