It is possible to live well with diabetes.
I love the adage “knowledge is power” because I’ve seen it proven many times. When individuals learn about diabetes and how to manage it, they are more likely to put that knowledge into “healthy” action.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or when it’s unable to properly use the insulin produced.
Unfortunately, type 2 diabetes rates in America have been on the rise for decades, largely driven by excess weight gain. Left unchecked, diabetes can cause stroke, heart disease, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, foot problems, eye disease, kidney disease and more.
The good news is that diabetes is manageable.
You can prevent or delay complications by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, managing your weight, closely monitoring glucose and blood pressure, reducing stress and using medications as prescribed. Proper nutrition and exercise are two of the most effective ways to tackle the problem.
Diabetes hinders the body’s ability to use the carbohydrates in food for energy. The result is elevated blood sugar. Therefore, controlling carbohydrate intake is crucial. Choose carbohydrates high in fiber and nutrients. Limit your intake of unhealthy fat (saturated and trans). Control your portion sizes and learn to read food labels so you know what’s healthy and what’s not.
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The body uses blood sugar as a source of energy needed for exercise. Exercise improves the body’s ability to use insulin and helps control other risk factors. Check with your physician before starting an exercise routine. Experts recommend exercising 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. Start slow and work your way up.
At the Center for Health & Wellbeing, we offer group classes and individual consultations focused on diabetes self-management, diabetes prevention and weight management. Many of our classes are free; some have a fee, which may be covered by insurance.
About Ask The Experts
Tracy Garrett is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing in Surprise, AZ. For information call 623-832-WELL (9355) or visit www.sunhealthwellbeing.org.
Information in this section is provided by health professionals from the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing. However, it should not be substituted for medical advice from your physician. If you have a question you’d like to submit for consideration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Originally published July 21, 2015; last updated Jan. 12, 2019.)