Editor's Note: The Vegas Voice is pleased to introduce Lenore DiPietro as our new health and wellness columnist. Her column - STAY WELL 411 will be found on our website.
Lenore DiPietro is a former Nursing Instructor for the College of Southern NV. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Nursing from LaSalle University, Philadelphia, PA, and has been a registered nurse for 22 years. She also holds a BA in Education from Adelphi U., Long Island, N.Y.
Diabetes, Part I
By: Lenore DiPietro
When it comes to your health, you have more control than you might think. One of the most preventable medical conditions is diabetes, a metabolic disorder afflicting more than ten million people.
Some factors are very controllable; others are not. While you cannot change your family history, your age or your ethnicity, you can modify many other factors, which may be part of the reason for your diagnosis of diabetes.
It is the diabetes that goes untreated or uncontrolled that leads to very serious complications, including blindness, kidney failure, loss of limbs, or even death.
Are you overweight? Do you get regular exercise? What is your diet like? These are three very important factors we will discuss if you are diabetic, or pre-diabetic.
If you are in your 30’s or 40’s, (or even younger), overweight, do not exercise, and prefer cheeseburgers and fries, to salads, lean meats and vegetables, you may be headed over to the group of ten million. Also, if you have heart disease, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, your risk increases.
Additionally, you might be predisposed to diabetes if you have a family history of the disease, or if you are Hispanic, African American or American Indian.
Do you notice an increase in thirst and urination, blurred vision, fatigue, itching and wounds that are slow to heal? If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, I strongly suggest you see your physician and get blood work done.
You will have to fast before getting your blood drawn. From this sample, the doctor will determine a “fasting blood sugar.”
That means how much sugar is remaining in your blood, even after not eating for eight hours. This indicates whether or not a hormone called insulin, is doing its job. Additional testing may be required.
So what if it turns out that your blood work is abnormal? What are your options?
Start with fixing the preventable issues; diet and exercise. It will take effort on your part, but will be well worth it, when, after about three months, you return to the doctor and your numbers are within normal limits!
Walking is the easiest, cheapest and most convenient form of burning calories. A 20 minute walk, preferably at the same time each day, five times a week, is a good place to start.
Gradually increase it to 30 minutes, and pick up the pace when you’re ready. When out, park your car a distance from where you have to go. There’s five or ten minutes right there!
Next, take the stairs instead of the elevator. While watching TV, march or jog in place during commercials, lift three or five pound weights, or do wall pushups (just lean against the wall with your hands and push yourself out and back).
Avoid saturated fats, processed food and fast food. Swap sweet deserts for yogurt and fresh fruit.
Replace beef with lean chicken, fish or ground turkey. Limit carbs like bread, pasta and potatoes, and add more vegetables and salads.
With a little work on your part, you can take control of your health, and may be able to prevent the onset of diabetes. Instead of thinking of it as diet and exercise, consider it a lifestyle change.
It will be well worth the effort and it could save your life.
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