If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you are far from being alone. According to the American Diabetes Association, ADA, about 29.1 million Americans have diabetes. This is a large enough number to bet that everyone reading this article has a friend or a family member who is or who has dealt with this disease.

While the diagnosis of diabetes may seem overwhelming there is plenty that can be done to live a longer, healthier life. Through learning and adjusting your lifestyle you will gain power to prevent future problems.

A diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes means that your pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin. Therefore, it would be your responsibility to monitor your blood sugar and administer insulin as your body needs it. The majority of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes is usually associated with older age, obesity, physical inactivity, genetic factors, or previous history of gestational diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas usually makes enough insulin, but for unknown reasons, the body does not use it correctly.

Undiagnosed diabetics often don’t have symptoms or there is a gradual development of symptoms. If these symptoms are ignored, type 2 diabetes can cause serious health complications. This is why it is very important to know how to spot the signs.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include: Increased thirst, increased hunger (especially after eating), dry mouth, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss or recent weight gain, fatigue, blurred or decreased vision, headaches, loss of consciousness (rare), slow healing sores or cuts, itching of the skin, frequent yeast infections, velvety dark skin changes of the neck, armpit, and groin, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, impotency.

You can do a few things to reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. By shedding extra pounds with exercise and healthy eating it is proven to prevent diabetes. Stopping smoking is one of the best ways to stave off the devastating complications of diabetes. Also, prescription medications have been shown to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes for individuals with pre-diabetes.

If you already have diabetes, you can put a positive spin on the disease. Use it as a reason to keep your New Year’s resolution to eat healthy and exercise. Do this in a way that works for you. Simply plan on having something to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. Eat a variety of foods and don’t eat too much or too much of one kind of food during a meal. The best foods will be vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy foods, and lean meats or meat substitutes.

Our Home Care Aides can be helpful with keeping a diabetic’s routines. They can check blood sugars daily and write the results in a logbook for the doctor of family to review later. They can also prepare foods that can both taste good and be healthy. It is common for them to walk or manage a prescribed exercise regimen also. Let us know if you know someone that would need this service. Call 877-743-4434.

Daniel Story, RN, CEO