Most of us, if not all of us know someone with Type II Diabetes. Myself, I have my father and father-in-law managing the disease, but many times not as good as they should. Even worst, my kids grandmother’s passing over a year ago was hard to witness and comprehend for them. Regardless of who it may be, we know the pain Diabetes can cause not only the person with the disease but those who care for them. The dizziness from an insulin episode, sores on their body, amputation at times, or death.
This is not meant to scare or depress anyone but just to shed some light on this too close to home disease. At the same time give you some preventative measures that can help you and others within your circle. I like to think of you as, “The Ambassador of Your Health” and for your loved ones as well.
Diabetes is the #5 leading cause of death in the United States behind Heart Disease, Cancer, Respiratory disease, and Strokes. But unlike the others, Diabetes can be prevented and controlled by proper diet and exercise and not medication. First, Let me differentiate Type I and Type II Diabetes.
Type 1: which was previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes, accounts for about 5 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. (Inherently born with it)
Type 2: which was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes, accounts for about 90-95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. (Contracted by poor eating choices)
Unlike with Type I Diabetes, there are numerous ways to reduce the risk of developing Type II Diabetes. A number of studies have shown that regular physical activity and proper eating habits can significantly reduce the risk, as can maintaining a healthy body weight
If you feel you are at risk, have family members that are high risk, it’s genetically in your family, or just want to know where your levels are, take an A1C Test.
An A1C test measures your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. The results of your A1C test can help your doctor:
- Identify Pre-Diabetes
- Diagnose Type I and Type II Diabetes
- Monitor a Diabetes treatment plan
- Once every year if you have Pre-Diabetes.
- Twice a year if you have Type II diabetes, you don't use insulin and your blood sugar level is consistently within your target range
- Four times a year if you have Type I Diabetes
- Four times a year if you have Type II diabetes, you use insulin to manage your diabetes or you have trouble keeping your blood sugar level within your target range
You may need more frequent A1C tests if your doctor changes your diabetes treatment plan or you begin taking a new diabetes medication.
As I mentioned earlier, I witness the affects of this disease everyday and know it is not easy convincing others to eat better and exercise. But that doesn’t stop me from being vocal about it and setting the example whenever possible. My kids have slowly begun seeing and understanding food differently now and are making conscious efforts to eat healthier. A teenager’s habits and mindset are tough too change, but adults are even tougher.
Food is very emotional and personal to us all so tread with caution but let your good intentions be known to those that might need help. Be patient yet relentless in your advice. Be encouraged to try healthier options into your/their diet. Find an exercise plan that will help you/them move (CrossFit is perfect for that). Educate yourself and loved ones to understand Diabetes in more detail. “Be the Ambassador of Your Health and your Family’s Health!” We are here to help you and your loved ones if you and they are ready.