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More than 34 million Americans, young and old, live with diabetes. It is a chronic disease that pertains to having too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. Although this disease can be debilitating, it doesn’t have to be. There are things you can do to help you live a long and normal life.
The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) focuses on improving the lives of individuals living with diabetes. According to the AADE, optimal health and a better quality of life for individuals living with diabetes can be accomplished through the following self-care behaviors.
Self Care Behaviors
Your diabetes will affect you both physically and emotionally. It’s natural to have mixed feelings about your diabetes management. Recognize these emotions as normal and take steps to reduce the negative impact they may have on your self-care.
Diabetes doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite meal or avoiding restaurants. There’s nothing you can’t eat. Know the foods you consume and how they affect your blood sugar.
It’s not all about losing weight to be healthy. Being active has other health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol, raising blood pressure, decreasing tension and anxiety, and enhancing your attitude. Exercise daily to help stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep your diabetes in check.
Test your blood sugar levels periodically. This can provide valuable knowledge regarding the treatment of your diabetes. Monitoring shows when your blood sugar level is elevated. It helps you change your diet and exercises so the body can function at its highest.
Doctors prescribe many forms of medications for patients with diabetes. Get to know a variety of types of medications that can work together to lower your blood sugar. Medications such as insulin or pills that lower your blood sugar can work together with aspirin, blood pressure medicines, and cholesterol-lowering medicines to reduce your risk of complications and help you feel better.
Everyone has issues with their diabetes management; you can’t prepare for every circumstance you might encounter. Having effective problem-solving skills can help you get ready for the unexpected and plan for dealing with specific challenges in the future.
Take actions that minimize or avoid risks and adverse effects of prediabetes and diabetes.
Alabama’s Diabetes Epidemic
Approximately 553,000 people in Alabama, or 14.6 percent of the adult population, have diagnosed diabetes. An additional 119,000 Alabamians have diabetes but don’t know it, greatly increasing their health risk.
Of the 1,316,000 people in Alabama, 34.6 percent of the adult population have prediabetes with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Every year, an estimated 41,000 adults in Alabama are diagnosed with diabetes.
Serious complications can occur with uncontrolled blood sugars. These include heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness, and death. However, these complications do not have to happen if you start now to change your behaviors.
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