Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high and your body loses the ability to create insulin, which manages the body’s energy supply. This disease affects nearly37 million Americans. An estimated one in four of that population doesn’t even know that they have diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association strives to use this month as an opportunity to share what life with diabetes is really like and offer resources on how to manage it. Here are a few ways to celebrate and raise awareness of diabetes this month:
Learn about diabetes
There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and Gestational diabetes. Knowing which one you have and taking the necessary steps to manage your blood sugar levels can help you to feel more energized, develop fewer bladder or skin infections, and heal better. Learn more about diabetes and managing life with diabetes here.
If you don’t have diabetes but someone you love does, educating yourself can help you support them through their journey.
Create a special cookbook
There are certain foods that people with diabetes can’t eat, but that shouldn’t hold you back from enjoying a delicious meal. Experiment with different diabetes-friendly recipes you find online and gather your favorites into a small cookbook that you can use to make sweet desserts, tasty snacks, or healthy dishes. You can make this for yourself or for a loved one that has diabetes.
Create a healthy lifestyle
With diabetes comes physical and mental challenges that you have to learn to overcome. Making healthy changes in diet, exercise habits, and stress levels can help you cope. Stress can lead to higher blood sugar, so find ways that help manage your stress. Start exercising slowly and work your way up to 30 minutes per day, with 10 minute walks three times a day. You should also try to work on building your muscle strength with yoga, stretch bands, or heavy gardening.
The NIDDK found that those who take action soon after their diagnosis have a better chance at preventing diabetes-related health issues such as vision loss, kidney disease, stroke, and heart disease.
The NIDDK suggests newly diagnosed people make a diabetes care plan with their primary health care provider to help manage their diagnosis. You should also know how to manage your ABCs (A1C, Blood pressure, Cholesterol) to avoid diabetes-related health problems.
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