Type 1 diabetes can be a devastating disease if not monitored properly. The American Diabetes Association warns that when left untreated, diabetes increases the risk of serious vision conditions, including cataracts and glaucoma; foot complications such as nerve damage, cuts and blisters, and in severe cases, amputation; high cholesterol and blood pressure making you more prone to major cardiac events; liver issues; and a shorter life.
Yet, even with these severe symptoms, there's still a lot of education that needs to take place. The biggest risk I see at Mildred Bayer is patients not knowing the seriousness of diabetes. Some patients don’t know how to use their glucometers, how to test properly, or simply are not taking their medications.
Diabetes by the Numbers
According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million Americans are currently living with the disease, and another 79 million Americans have prediabetes. This means almost one-third of the total U.S. population is affected by diabetes. Unfortunately, racial and ethnic minorities, including African Americans and Latinos, have a higher prevalence and greater burden of diabetes, compared to their white counterparts. For example, the risk of diabetes is 77% higher among African Americans than among non-Hispanic white Americans. Some minority groups have higher rates of complications when they don’t keep their diabetes in check.
Tips for Staying Healthy with Diabetes
The good news is that with proper treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, many people with diabetes are able to prevent complications and keep their diabetes in check. Try implementing the following tips for a healthier life with diabetes or prediabetes:
- Make healthy food choices: Start by choosing foods that are low in carbohydrates (sugar and flour) and emphasizing vegetables, whole grains, fruit, beans and lean meats (chicken and fish) and low-fat dairy products.
- Exercise regularly: Doctors usually recommend aerobic exercises, those that make the heart work.
- Monitor blood sugars: If your doctor has recommended that you monitor your blood sugar through home testing, do so as recommended and keep a daily log of your numbers.
- Take your medication: It may sound like an obvious rule, but some patients don’t take their medications as prescribed.
Schedule your NHA appointment by calling 419.255.7883.