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Food & Drink

6 things everyone should know about diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month. It’s probably not what you want to think about during the holiday season, but frankly, what better time to bring awareness? Diabetes is a disease that happens when your blood sugar is too high. Because insulin is the hormone that helps move glucose out of your blood and into your cells for energy, if your pancreas does not make enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood. Here’s what we should all know about diabetes.

Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
goes up after the age of 45.

The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is this: In type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. This is usually diagnosed in children, but it can happen at any age. Type 2, however, is when your body does not make insulin well. Again, you can develop this at any age, but the risk goes up for middle-aged and older adults.

Women may be at higher risk if they’ve ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.

Typically, gestational diabetes goes away after giving birth, but the mother and child will still be at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, the risk can be by maintaining a healthy weight, making smart food choices, and staying active.

You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes
by losing 5 to 7 percent of your weight.

If you are overweight, losing even a small amount can make a big difference. Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week can help you achieve this goal, while further reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Some people with prediabetes or diabetes
may not have any symptoms.

Some of the symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, increased urination, fatigue, and blurred vision. However, some people may not have any symptoms at all. That’s why it’s important to get tested, especially if you have a risk factor such as being overweight or middle-aged, or having a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. If you are African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander, you are also at a higher risk.

A fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test is not
the only way to diagnosis diabetes.

The FPG test measures the amount of glucose in your blood after fasting for at least 8 hours. A result of 99 or below is normal; 100 to 125 is an indication of prediabetes, and 126 or above is diabetes. However, your doctor may want to perform the same test on a following day before diagnosing. Another option is a hemoglobin A1C, a blood test that measures your average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months. A result of less than 5.7 percent is normal, 5.7 percent to 6.4 percent is considered prediabetes, and 6.5 percent or higher is considered diabetes.

Managing diabetes is a lot easier if you
know the ABCs.

A is for A1C, B is blood pressure, C is for cholesterol, and S is for stop smoking. Staying on top of your blood sugar levels and making certain lifestyle adjustments can greatly reduce your risk of complications from diabetes. Talk to your dietitian or doctor about an appropriate meal plan that works for you and any medication you may be taking.

Look for the Hy-Vee Healthy You Mobile Tour
in November

The Hy-Vee Healthy You Mobile will be from 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 17 at the Newton Hy-Vee providing free hemoglobin A1C screenings from 8 a.m. to noon. Stop by Customer Service and reserve a time.

The Newton Wellness Coalition is a nonprofit established by a diverse group of Newton community members who desire to promote healthy living in the city of Newton. The purpose of this coalition is to support Section Six (Health) of the 2012 Newton Comprehensive Plan through connecting Newton’s greater population with physical, nutritional and social/emotional wellness offerings that are already occurring within Newton’s borders.

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