Do you want to get control of your diabetes? Start by knowing the facts.
Kathy Coker, RD, CDE, a diabetes educator at Olathe Medical Center, breaks down the myths about diabetes and how you can get healthy.
Myth: Diabetes does not affect very many people.
Actually, at least one in nine adults in the United States has diabetes. That's more than 30 million Americans! Another 84 million adults have prediabetes, which is an early warning sign that Type 2 diabetes is around the corner and left untreated, most people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.
Myth: Diabetes is caused by eating or drinking too much sugar.
While researchers have found a link between sugary beverages and Type 2 diabetes, it is more complicated than that. Genetics, weight, physical activity and other personal health issues are also contributing factors.
Myth: Diabetes is curable.
Unfortunately, once you have diabetes, you'll always have diabetes. The goal is to protect the remaining cells in the pancreas that make insulin to regulate blood glucose. This is why it's important to manage your diabetes.
So how do you know if you have diabetes or prediabetes?
There are no clear symptoms of prediabetes. You may just be more tired than usual. Diabetes symptoms may also be mild and can include excess thirst and urination, unintentional weight loss and fatigue. Diabetes can be diagnosed with a blood test from your doctor.
How can you stay healthy and protect your blood sugars?
- First, know your risk. The following factors make you more susceptible to getting Type 2 diabetes:
- Over the age of 45
- Family history of diabetes
- Delivered a baby over nine pounds
- High blood pressure and cholesterol
- Choose to be physically active more days than not.
- Get 30 minutes of exercise five days per week.
- Any exercise is better than nothing.
- Try taking a walk 10 minutes after each meal. That's just five minutes one way and five minutes back.
- Choose to be healthy.
- Sweets and sugars are treats, not part of every meal or every day.
- Get rid of the sweet drinks like soda or sweet tea and drink more water.
- Load up on vegetables of all kinds, especially those with bright colors like broccoli, green beans and carrots.
- Eat enough at meals to be satisfied but not stuffed. A good rule of thumb is to stop eating when you no longer feel hungry.
- Restaurant portions are typically too big for one person to eat. Take part of it home, share it with your dining partner or stick to the a la carte or appetizer items to make your meal.
- Ask for help.
- The diabetes education teams at Olathe Medical Center and Miami County Medical Center are here to help you succeed. The certified diabetes educators, nurses and dietitians will help you learn healthy eating habits, lifestyle changes, self-care tasks and medication management.
You can schedule an appointment with our diabetes educators by calling one of the following phone numbers.
Olathe Medical Center Diabetes Education Team
Miami County Medical Center Diabetes Education Team