Dear HCCUA Members:
Diabetes has been cited as the most challenging health problem in the 21st century. Over 25 million people in the United States have diabetes. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes speed up the aging of our bodies and accelerate the development of atherosclerosis, or cardiovascular disease. In fact, diabetes doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The heavier you are, the greater the risk you will develop type 2 diabetes. Whereas type 1 diabetes is a disease of insulin deficiency, type 2 diabetes typically develops because the body is insulin resistant and requires more insulin than normal. Our body’s cells are fueled by glucose, and insulin acts as a key that allows glucose from the blood to enter our cells. If the pancreas does not produce insulin, or the body’s cells no longer respond to insulin, glucose remains in the blood instead of being used by the cells, resulting in abnormally high blood glucose which is harmful to the body.
Education and self-care practices are important aspects of glucose management that help people with diabetes stay healthy. There probably is no one way to eat that works for everyone. For some, all but nixing carbs is the ideal way to normalize blood glucose levels. For others, eating a higher-carb diet and covering the carbs with insulin or oral medications wins. This is why meal plans should be geared to fit each person’s individual lifestyle.
Keep in mind that what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you and vice versa. You may need to experiment a bit to see how different methods affect your blood glucose levels. Consider making an appointment with a registered dietitian who can review your individual needs and circumstances and help you tailor a nutrition plan that is right for you. In the end, the best meal plan is a healthy one that you are able to follow.
For diabetics physical activity is essential in helping maintain normal glucose levels. You should become familiar with how your blood glucose responds to exercise. Checking your blood glucose level frequently before and after exercise can help you see the benefits of activity. You can also use the results of your blood glucose checks to see how your body reacts to different activities. Understanding these patterns can help you prevent your blood glucose from going too high or too low.
For those of you that may be insulin dependent or constantly checking your glucose blood levels, you might want to take some interest in our Prescription Assistance Services if you have not already. Included as part of your HCCUA e-Newsletter we better explain how these services can help you get medications for a lower cost and at times at no additional charge to you.
We also like to find healthy recipes for our members, such as recipes from Deelish.com that that have wonderful flavors and are good for you. Sometimes substituting certain ingredients for others is all we need to do to make a recipe better for your health. Many of these recipes also include nutritional value which can help you keep on track as well. Try Green Goddess Bowl with Chicken and Quinoa which is high in protein and full of flavors. We would enjoy for members to send us healthy recipes that you enjoy and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Kristine Eckardt, Director of Member Communications