By T.J. DePaola, PharmD
November marks National Diabetes Awareness Month, an annual focus on the risks, preventative measures and ways to improve the lives of those with the disease. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30 million children and adults are living with diabetes in America, and nearly 1.5 million adults are newly diagnosed each year. Coping with diabetes can be challenging. Although there is no cure, diabetes can be managed with the right resources, support, proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
The first step to managing a life with diabetes is to understand what it means. Every day, your body breaks down sugar and starches into simple sugars known as glucose, which the body uses as energy. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is used to move the glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. Living with diabetes means that the body is unable to regulate its blood glucose levels, causing the levels to fluctuate severely. A diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes means that your body is unable to produce insulin and will require daily injections of insulin. Usually diagnosed in children or young adults, Type 1, or previously known as juvenile diabetes, affects only 5 percent of those with the disease. Type 2, the most common form of diabetes, means your body doesn’t properly use insulin and is unable to make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal.
Being diagnosed with diabetes can be daunting or even hard to believe. However, this diagnosis doesn’t mean that your life is over and that you can’t still enjoy the things that make you happy, it simply means that you will need to slightly alter your daily routines. Regardless of
the type of diabetes, adopting a healthier lifestyle that includes proper diet and physical activity can aid in controlling the disease, helping to lower or delay the chances of any complications.
Follow these simple steps from the American Diabetes Association to manage your life with diabetes:
1. Take care of your body: Type 1 diabetics will need multiple daily injections of insulin using either an insulin pen or syringe or an insulin pump. It is important to work closely with your physician to determine the appropriate dosage of insulin, the method and how to effectively monitor your blood glucose levels. It is vital for people living with Type 1 or 2 diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels using a lancing device. Logging and regularly reviewing your results to see how your diet and physical activity levels affect your blood glucose will help you to maintain a healthy balance. Consult with your physician to determine the best lancing device and logging system for your body and needs.
2. Stay active: Physical activity is a key component to properly caring for your body. It is necessary to balance your blood glucose levels with your nutrition and activity level – whether a high-intensity workout or a daily task like cleaning. To prevent low glucose levels, check your level prior to starting an activity and be sure to monitor the intensity of the activity, length of time and if any changes to your insulin doses are needed. It is important to note that blood glucose can run high during high-intensity workouts. Work with your physician to determine the best exercise plan that will have a perfect balance with your food intake and insulin.
3. Eat properly: Over the years, meal plans for people with diabetes have become less restrictive. Those with diabetes can now plan a diet that includes a few of their favorite foods or variations of them. It is important to consult with your physician to understand how different foods affect your blood glucose levels and to develop a customized meal plan. The key to adopting a healthy lifestyle is to plan your meals with a variety of foods, including vegetables, fruits, lean meats, healthy fats and non-fat dairy. For optimal health, consider adding dietary supplements to support your glucose levels such as alpha-lipoic (ALA), chromium, coenzyme Q10, garlic, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. Consult with your physician to determine the best supplements to support your diet, activity levels and other factors that affect your glucose levels.
Cypress Pharmacy supports the American Diabetes Association’s efforts to focus the nation’s attention on diabetes and its mission to prevent and cure diabetes and improve the lives of those living with the disease. To learn how Cypress Pharmacy can assist you on your journey with diabetes or for more information on dietary supplements that aid those with diabetes, call 239-481-7322 or visit www.cypresspharmacy.com.
Cypress Pharmacy has been providing pharmaceutical and health care services in Fort Myers for more than 40 years. The entire staff, including pharmacists T.J. DePaola and Justin Ceravolo, are dedicated to providing the best possible service to every customer.