November is National Diabetes Month, and the theme for 2017 is Managing Diabetes – It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It. This year’s theme was chosen to emphasize how diabetes affects more than just your blood sugar, it also affects your heart and body, and how important managing diabetes can be for maintaining your overall health.
Diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to absorb sugar into body. Blood sugar can rise to dangerous levels. Diabetics control their blood sugar levels by taking insulin, medication, and through diet. It’s a balancing act between what they eat, how much insulin they take, and how physically active they are. Sometimes one side of this balance goes too high or too low, and this when we can have a diabetic emergency.
The most common emergency for diabetics is low blood sugar. This is the person who can become sleepy or confused, feel thirsty or hunger, or become nauseous. They may become pale, sweaty, and complain of a headache. We treat this by giving them something with sugar to eat or drink. Juice, soda, jelly beans, or candy that contain real sugar. They should start to feel better and remind them to check their blood sugar. If someone has become so sleepy or confused that you think they could choke if they drink or eat call 911.
Risks of mismanaging diabetes include an increased risk for a heart attack or stroke. This can be caused by increased levels of blood sugar damaging blood vessels and nerves over time. The damage leads to increased risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Not taking care of your diabetes can also cause problems with vision, blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage, and problems with your teeth or gums. Keeping track of diabetes can help you minimize these risks, as well as give you more energy and fewer health complications.
Not sure if you are at risk for diabetes or if you’re managing it correctly? Check with your doctor to find out. You can also find out if you are at risk, and how to manage diabetes by checking out these great resources online:
- Take the Diabetes Risk Test.
- How to lower your risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
- 4 steps to managing your diabetes
- Taking care of your diabetes during sick days and special times.
National Diabetes Awareness Month is a reminder to keep on top of our health throughout the year, not just during the month of November. Staying healthy, watching our weight, what we eat, and exercising are not easy to do every day – but are worth it to reduce our risks for diabetes, heart attack, stroke or other health complications.
Managing Diabetes – It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It