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November is Diabetes Awareness Month

by | Nov 8, 2023 | In the News

By NVRH Director of Food Service and Nutrition, Sharon Pinard-Sisle, RDN, LD, CDCES

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin. When insulin is not being utilized properly by the body or not being produced at all, the body cannot metabolize carbohydrates that we eat. This impaired function of insulin causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.

When diabetes is not managed optimally, the chronic increased blood sugars can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart. Diabetes is even linked to some types of cancer.

The theme of this year’s Diabetes Awareness Month is “Preventing Diabetes Health Problems,” and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), has provided some tips to help manage diabetes and stay healthy longer:

  1. Manage your A1C, blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Your health care provider can tell you what your ideal levels of these parameters should be. It does vary based on your individual health profile.
  2. Take care of your mental health. Find ways to cope with stress as stress can increase blood sugars despite all of your other efforts to lower them.
  3. Make lifestyle changes to slowly build healthy habits. Take small steps towards a healthier you. Don’t make several changes all at once or have drastic goals. For example, if you haven’t been going for walks at all, don’t make a goal to walk seven days per week for an hour. Another example would be if you tend not to include vegetables in your meals, don’t have a goal to become a vegan overnight.
  4. Take your medicines on time even if you feel healthy. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions or concerns about your medications.
  5. Work closely with your primary care provider. Your provider can help you manage your diabetes and can make referrals to other healthcare professionals who can also help. You may be referred to a certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES), a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), or a mental health counselor to name a few.

For more information on managing your diabetes and health related complications visit the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases or the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists.