November is not only the month that will kick off the holiday season, but it is also National Diabetes Awareness Month. In fact, next Wednesday, November 14, is World Diabetes Day. What better time to review a little about the disease itself and the toll it can take on your health!
Remind me again – what is the difference between Type I and Type 2 Diabetes?
- Type 1 (Juvenile): Type I diabetes occurs when the body fails to make insulin so that cells cannot absorb sugar (glucose), which is needed to produce energy. Early onset Type 1 diabetes is often considered a hereditary problem and therefore, while not necessarily preventable, is more easily diagnosed due to fluctuations in sugar that cause physical reactions, sending the patient to the doctor.
- Type 2 (Adult Onset): This is not as easily diagnosed, as the body does not tend to react to sugar fluctuations. Cause by the insufficient use of insulin in the body, Type 2 is known to be caused, in part, by lifestyle and general health.
So if I take medication, is that enough to combat Type 2?
A resounding NO! Medication alone can help regulate insulin, but leading a healthy lifestyle is vitally important. Since adult onset diabetes is often linked to obesity, maintaining your weight at proper levels is critically important – that means keeping up with an exercise routine and watching what you eat. Cutting back on your intake of carbohydrates and sugars, reducing the use of processed foods and increasing meals that include vegetables and low-sugar fruits are the best ways to take control of your diabetes. Don’t forget, the effects of untreated diabetes are far-reaching, and can include heart disease, respiratory problems, circulatory disorders, vision problems, gum disease and bad breath. So, don’t forget that in addition to monitoring your overall health, be particularly diligent about your oral hygiene, brush daily and be sure to keep your tongue clean with your TUNG Brush and Gel.
How do I actually “celebrate” World Diabetes Day?
It is important to continue to raise awareness of this disease and its impact. November 14th is a great day for community fund-raising events, such as bike races or hikes, to educate others and to contribute to the research being conducted for a cure or better control of the disease. Also, if you know someone who has diabetes or if you have been diagnosed, what better way to start that new and improved lifestyle? Make a pact with someone…start a food and exercise journal…make that commitment to do better and to get better!