HEALTH – October 2013

Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Diabetics

Diabetes is a medical problem that can be overwhelming. It is important to realize that there are many things that can be done to control diabetes. Each person has different blood sugar levels to maintain, and it is best to discuss this with your doctor. Generally, diabetics should maintain an average blood sugar (“hemoglobin A1C”) less than seven percent. Because the body cannot use insulin effectively, there are various lifestyle modifications that diabetics can do to help this problem. Healthy habits can help to control diabetes and should include physical activities and healthy foods.

Little changes can make a big impact on diabetes. Planning each meal is a good way to control the types and amounts of food eaten. To incorporate more nutritious food items into daily meals, start by adding them to favorite recipes. For example, zucchini enchiladas or substituting lettuce leaves in place of tortillas in taco recipes. Exercise is an excellent way to help the body use insulin. Starting with 10 minutes a day can help, and can be done while watching television with the family. Activities like marching in place, walking briskly around the house/yard, jumping rope, and climbing stairs are beneficial. For more ideas on nutrition and exercise, consult the American Diabetes Association website (http://www.diabetes.org/).

Diabetes is one of the few chronic diseases that, when properly managed, can accompany a person until the end of their days without disturbance to their quality of life. Whenever diabetes is well controlled, no symptoms or discomfort of any kind may be present. This is a perfect reason not only for eating well and maintaining a suitable activity level but also to maintain a positive attitude about the disease. This can serve as a motivation to produce healthy behaviors which may prevent many of the complications associated with diabetes.

Natalie Mora is from San Antonio, Texas, and is a fourth year medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Her focus is on diabetes and preventative medicine. She is a member of the SUNY Upstate’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association, a national organization whose mission is to educate and advocate for the health needs of the Latino community. LMSA members, including herself, contribute to CNY Latino and raising awareness regarding the many health issues affecting the Latinos of Central NY and beyond.

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