While most people associate the summer with eating right and getting fit, the fall is even more so the time to stay on track with a balanced diet and exercise routine. That is because November is National Diabetes Awareness month. Did you know that over 29 million people in the United States alone have diabetes? And over 8 million more people may be undiagnosed or unaware of their condition. Those who are older are more prone to have diabetes. But as time goes on, doctors are seeing a growing number of diabetes cases in those who are younger.
The two main forms of diabetes are type I and type II, with the type II version being the most common. Type I diabetes is the result of an autoimmune disease that destroys insulin producing beta cells which prevents the body from being able to make enough insulin to help regulate blood glucose levels. This form of diabetes can be developed at any age but is more commonly found in those who are younger. This specific type of disease requires those who have it to be completely dependent on insulin shots or a pump that produces insulin. There is no true cure or reversal for type I diabetes.
Type II diabetes is a metabolic disorder where blood glucose levels are simply too high. It is normally found in those who are older but recently has begun to be a more common diagnosis in younger patients as well. This form of diabetes can be reversed by maintaining a healthy diet and following a regular exercise schedule.
Everyone enjoys a treat now and again like ice cream, pizza, and fast food. But complications from diabetes can be serious. Diabetes was noted as being seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2015. So those who have it should take extra care by being sure that they see a doctor regularly and keep up with a balanced diet and fitness regime.
With use of the internet, there are tons of great places to find delicious recipes that are both healthy and tasty. You can find favorite, classic dishes—like pasta loaded with fresh tomatoes and slow cooker chicken with a red pepper kick—tweaked with healthier ingredients. While fried chicken and cake may sound like an amazing combo, moderations should be made so that you are filling your body with foods that provide true nourishment like leafy green veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains.
Aside from foods rich in nutrients, what you drink has huge health effects as well. Those who enjoys their morning cup of coffee could be doing more harm than good by drinking it up. When consumed, the amount of caffeine can cause blood sugar levels to increase, especially in those who have type II diabetes. Adding artificial sweeteners and even non-dairy products can have negative consequences. If you simply must have that bittersweet coffee flavor, go for decaf to preserve your health as a person living with diabetes. Throughout the remainder of your day, be sure to hydrate with tons of water and keep low on the soda and fruit juice. Before having a big night on the town, speak with your doctor about alcohol in moderation to avoid major complications.
Finding an exercise you enjoy can be another challenge. The best way to get motivated and get moving is to attempt to start small. Don’t join a gym right away if you’re unsure of what you want out of a workout. For beginners, walking around your own neighborhood can be a great step in the right direction. Build up some level of activity before moving on to more intense forms of fitness. Once you’ve found yourself able to commit to 30 minutes of walking 3 days out of the week, find something new to add so your level of fitness so you don’t become bored. Maybe 5 minutes of light weight lifting can be your thing, or quickening your steps into a slight jog for a minute or two might work.
For those who are already fairly fit but looking for more, kick it up a notch and try something you may not be so sure of. Sign up for a class at that yoga studio down the street, begin your training for your next 5K, or gear up and take a bike ride around the park. Whatever you decide to do, keep it up and you’ll see yourself feeling better, and growing stronger with each passing day.
As someone who is older, you can use your wisdom to your advantage by teaching your children, or grandchildren about the benefits of treating your body right. Help mold young minds to create good habits early on that will carry them into adolescence and adulthood. With so many new diabetes cases showing up in younger generations, being a friendly voice of guidance can make all the difference.
Living with diabetes can be difficult. Following these guidelines can be as well. Always ask your doctor about any questions you have regarding your diabetes and if there’s more you can do to help yourself live your life to the fullest.