Diabetes Awareness Month
Diabetes Awareness Month
March is Diabetes Awareness Month, with March 26th designated as American Diabetes Alert Day. Diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make. If left untreated, diabetes can cause nerve damage to the eyes, kidneys, and other major organs. There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease, and affects about 10% of diabetes patients; it occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. Type 2 diabetes is much more common and occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin, causing sugar to build up in your blood.
Diabetes can sneak up on you in your later years, which is why it’s very important to pay attention to the changes in the way your body responds to your diet as you age. Certain symptoms of diabetes may go unnoticed at first, as we often make excuses when our lives are busy. However, if you begin experiencing more than one of the following symptoms, it could indicate prediabetes. The general symptoms of diabetes include:
– increased hunger
– increased thirst
– weight loss
– frequent urination
– blurry vision
– extreme fatigue
– sores that don’t heal
Diabetes is treated with a personalized course of insulin-based treatment. Diet and exercise can also help some people manage type 2 diabetes. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your blood sugar, your doctor will prescribe medication in addition to the insulin. Keep in mind that changing your habits isn’t a punishment. Learning to eat differently doesn’t mean bland, boring food; you can still enjoy yourself while staying healthy. If you’re concerned that a special diet will stress your lifestyle, take advantage of the fresh prepared foods that most grocery stores now offer. Choose pre-cut raw vegetables and bagged salads. To make prepping even easier, pick up premade whole chickens from the rotisserie, or other hot meals they might have available. As a bonus, many grocery stores offer home delivery for those who can’t quite make it to the store.
You should always consult your doctor or a nutritionist before starting a new eating plan, as you will have some new restrictions to adhere to. Here are some simple meal suggestions that are quick, healthy, and easy, as well a few that can be prepared ahead of time. Keep portions small, use fats and sugars sparingly, and refrain from relying on packaged or processed foods that might have hidden sweeteners.
- Sugar free Oatmeal with fresh berries
- Sliced hard-boiled egg, whole wheat toast, and fruit
- “Power toast”: low-sugar peanut butter, almond butter, or avocado spread on whole wheat toast, with a side of fruit
- Yogurt parfait: yogurt, fruit, and nuts or granola mixed together
- Whole grain waffles
- Broiled salmon on mixed greens with a light vinaigrette
- Stir-fry vegetables in a small amount of olive oil with a lean protein such as chicken, or use tofu; serve over brown rice or quinoa
- Lentil or other vegetarian soup with wheat roll
- Spinach salad, lightly dressed
- Turkey (or another lean protein) wrap with lettuce, tomatoes, and any other raw vegetable of your choice, with a cup of soup
- Grilled salmon with vegetables
- Sautéed shrimp and vegetables
- Rice and beans
- Ground turkey meatballs and whole wheat pasta in light tomato sauce
- Shredded rotisserie chicken salad
If you or your aging loved one are living with diabetes and need support, or are unable to prepare meals at home, we at Greystone Health are here to help. We offer many personal home care services, including housekeeping, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and assistance with hygiene. For more information on these services and more, please visit us at https://www.greystonehealth.com/private-duty/.