Diabetes Awareness Month is in November, a great time to discuss the topic of diabetes, risk factors, and how to control pre-diabetes.
Right now, more than 130 million people in the U.S. alone live with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Keeping it under control is essential to preventing dehydration, seizures, and other serious health issues.
For employers, this means a better understanding of the condition can prepare you to help diabetic employees as needed. It can also open up conversations around generally good health and staying well to avoid issues like prediabetes.
Read on to learn how healthy habits like yoga, cutting carbs, exercising regularly, and other habits can keep those at risk or with diabetes healthier. Plus, discover resources to share with workers on the topic of diabetes.
Here’s to starting conversations that lead to more diabetes awareness!
Diabetes Awareness: What Exactly is Diabetes?
Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is part of a group of diseases resulting in too much sugar in the blood (high blood glucose).
There are three classes of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes - This condition is when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. It’s thought to be an autoimmune reaction and it can happen at any time in your life.
- Type 2 diabetes - Known as “adult onset diabetes”, this condition happens when cells in the muscles, fat, and the liver become insulin resistant. This means the cells don’t take in enough sugar. While not curable, it may be reversible, according to some studies.
- Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy when a placenta-produced hormone prevents the mother’s body from using insulin the right way.
No matter which type of diabetes you or a loved one may have, treatment and proper management is essential to living a healthy life. In doing so, it reduces fatigue and bladder issues. Appropriately managing diabetes also reduces the chances of experiencing vision problems, amputation, dementia, and other serious medical issues.
Ways to Manage Diabetes and Your Diabetes Risk
What’s the best way to control your diabetes? That’s a crucial conversation to have with your doctor. You might also consult a dietician as well to better understand how food impacts your diabetes and sugar levels.
Here are a few ways to manage this health condition:
Know Your Risk
If you have an immediate family member with diabetes, your chances of having it are greater, too. It’s important to keep an eye on your weight and eat a healthy diet as part of reducing your prediabetic risk. Take a risk test through the American Diabetes Association to learn more.
Try Lemon Juice Before Carbs
A recent study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found lemon juice “significantly lowered the mean blood glucose concentration peak by 30%and delayed it more than 35 min.” Like previously published studies, this one confirmed: “lowering the pH of a meal can slow down starch digestion through premature inhibition of salivary α-amylase.”
Explore Short Exercise Sessions
Exercise is important for everyone, but especially for those who sit all day and it’s critical for diabetics. Exercise encourages muscles to use blood sugar for energy and muscle contraction, making more efficient use of your blood sugar. Try short exercises throughout the day like walking or jump roping. Every bit adds up.
Yoga is an excellent physical activity for those looking to incorporate exercise into their daily routine. As a resistance exercise, yoga can help regulate blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Give AI Tools a Try
Stay ahead of your diabetes by using the best tools available to monitor your glucose. Not only can certain tools offer insight to patterns, it provides valuable health data to your physicians. Ask your doctor about diabetes care apps like Glucose Buddy or Fooducate to make monitoring your health and making lifestyle choices easier.
You can live a relatively normal life with diabetes if you’re willing to invest time in educating yourself about the smartest health choices. It also takes discipline and a willingness to make changes to stay healthy.
How to Control Prediabetes
If you’ve recently found out you’re prediabetic, don’t panic. You have it within your power to turn your health around before it escalates to full-fledged diabetes. Your daily lifestyle choices are yours to make and improve.
Here’s how to control prediabetes:
- Increase daily activity - Just by moving around more, you can get your heart pumping and your body in a healthier state. Find physical activities you love and do them daily just like you would brush your teeth.
- Lose excess weight - Shedding extra pounds can make all the difference for those who are borderline diabetic. if you're overweight, losing just 5% to 7% of your body weight “significantly reduces” type 2 diabetes risk, according to Mayo Clinic.
- Go low carb - Changing your eating habits can help with the reversal of prediabetes. Research from Tulane University found a low-carb diet can help those with unmedicated diabetes lower their blood sugar. Visit your local library to find low-carb cookbooks to check out and try new recipes at home.
- Quit smoking - You’ll improve your blood sugar levels when you quit smoking. Not only does it help those levels, it vastly improves your oxygen levels and overall health when you quit tobacco.
It’s important to note your physician may also recommend a medication to try as well as you learn to control prediabetes.
Diabetes Awareness Month is an Ideal Time to Educate
Given that one in five people don’t know they have diabetes, this month is a smart time to educate your employees.
Here are additional resources to share this month:Diabetes can mimic other conditions, but it’s important for your staff to understand letting any condition — but especially one like diabetes — go unchecked can lead to a health disaster. Here’s to a month of sharing valuable resources that can help improve the lives of your employees and their loved ones!