Recommit to a healthy lifestyle on World Diabetes Day

Held annually on November 14, World Diabetes Day celebrates the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922. Banting and Best’s discovery has enabled millions of Americans to survive this disease and lead relatively normal lives.

Portneuf Medical Center's office for Diabetes & Nutrition Education will celebrate World Diabetes Day by joining in the "Let's Chalk about It" campaign with the Diabetes Alliance of Idaho. The campaign invites patients to decorate the sidewalk outside the office with encouraging messages or pictures about living with diabetes.

Two types of diabetes

Diabetes is an illness that signifies that someone’s blood glucose level is too high, usually because the person has difficulties involving the insulin their body produces. Type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in childhood, occurs because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes arises when one’s body is resistant to the insulin produced by the pancreas.

Today, more than 1.5 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with diabetes every year, a disease affecting 9% of all Americans.

The importance of education

Research shows that barely half (51.7%) of adults 18 years and older diagnosed with diabetes have ever received formal diabetes self-management education and support (DSME). This education and support is important, as studies have shown that DSME lowers, on average, the participants’ A1C levels.

Complications from diabetes

Controlling diabetes is important because of the related health risks. An individual with Type 1 diabetes may have a number of complications:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy)
  • Eye damage
  • Foot damage
  • Skin and mouth conditions
  • Pregnancy complications

Complications from Type 2 diabetes are often milder than Type 1, but can still cause major health concerns, especially involving the tiny blood vessels in your kidneys, nerves and eyes. Type 2 diabetes also raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.

10 Warning Signs

Here are 10 signs that may indicate you are at risk for diabetes:

  1. Frequent urination
  2. Increased thirst
  3. Fatigue
  4. Blurred vision
  5. Increased hunger
  6. Unexplained weight loss
  7. Slow healing cuts and wounds
  8. Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  9. Skin discoloration
  10. Yeast infections

Think you may be at risk for diabetes? Take the American Diabetes Association's 60-second Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test.

Take action now

Keep your blood sugar level within range (70-180mg/dL) for longer periods of time each day with healthy eating, exercise, stress management and possibly medications and insulin injections. You should also have regular health screenings to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that adults with diabetes participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week, spread out over 3 days in the week. Everyone should speak with their primary care doctor before beginning an exercise routine, but a walk in the park is a great place to start!

When eating, we know each individual has unique dietary concerns and tastes. Generally speaking, you should try to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, eliminate sugary beverages, choose whole grains and reduce sweets and desserts.

Hungry for more information? Contact Portneuf Medical Center's office for Diabetes & Nutrition Education at (208) 239-2076 or visit our web page.