Stay Alert in the Prevention and Management of Diabetes

Monday, March 21, 2011

Currently 25.8 million Americans have diabetes and each year the number continues to increase.

On March 22nd, the country will observe National Diabetes Alert Day. Observed annually on the fourth Tuesday of March, National Diabetes Alert Day serves as a wake-up call for people nationwide -- alerting them of the seriousness of diabetes. Preventing and controlling diabetes starts with changing your lifestyle -- and it's never too late to start with these simple steps:

* Get your beauty sleep. Not only is a good night's sleep a mood booster; it can also help to fight off the onset of diabetes. According to a study conducted at Yale University, 1,709 men found that those who regularly got less than six hours of sleep doubled their risk of diabetes. Previous studies proved the same for women.

* It's time to get physical. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 65 percent of American adults are overweight or obese and this percentage continues to climb.Not only is exercise a great solution to battling obesity, for those with diabetes, exercise can mean the difference between "living with my diabetes" and "managing my diabetes". For seniors, even minor adjustments to their lifestyle can increase their exercise, such as making sure to get up out of their favorite chair to walk around the home.

* You are what you eat. Diabetes is one of the many diseases where your food plays a role in the prevention and treatment of the disease. Taking your eating habits seriously will help shrink your waistlineand lower your risk for diabetes. Certain food choices can also greatly affect blood sugar levels. Choosing a diet high in healthy carbohydrates and fiber, and avoiding saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium can help prevent and manage diabetes.

* An eye doctor a year can keep blindness away. According to Prevent Blindness America, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, or retinopathy, among adults aged 20--74 years.Those with diabetes should have their eyes checked every year. Additionally, controlling blood sugar levels can slow the progression and onset of retinopathy in diabetics.

* Stay one step ahead of foot problems. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 60 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.One of the biggest threats to your feet is smoking. Why? Because smoking affects small blood vessels and can ultimately lead to decreased blood flow to the feet. So take good care of your feet and see your healthcare provider right away about any foot problemsor pain. You can also inquire about prescription shoes that are covered by Medicare and other insurance plans.

The most important thing you can do for yourself, and your loved ones, is to educate yourself about diabetes. Focus on prevention, including staying active and maintaining a healthy diet. Talk to your doctor about your risk of developing diabetes. You can still live a healthy and full life following a diabetes diagnosis by following your doctor's recommendations and monitor your blood sugar closely.

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