The last couple of decades tell a “good news, bad news” story about diabetes. That’s the disease that makes it tough for your body to control blood sugar. Here’s a snapshot:
In the last 20 years, the number of adults with diabetes has more than tripled.1 Nearly one in 10 now has the disease.2 That’s certainly not good news.
But there are some bright spots in recent reports. In general, control of blood sugar has improved and rates of serious complications from diabetes have declined a great deal. If you’re at risk for diabetes or already have it, consider these three questions:
1. Are you making good lifestyle choices?
Where people haven’t made progress, lifestyle has a lot to do with it. For example, it’s no secret that the obesity epidemic is growing, right along with the diabetes epidemic.1
Think about the lifestyle choices you make. Yes, you’ve heard it all before, but it still holds true: Make healthy food choices—and understand diabetes meal planning. Exercise 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. Move to or stay at a healthy weight. And manage your stress as well as you can.3
2. Do you know your diabetes ABCs?
Knowing your numbers is also a big piece of the diabetes story, especially if you are at risk for or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. High blood pressure is when blood moves through your vessels with too much force. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that can cause plaque buildup in arteries. Combined, these three give your heart and blood vessels a triple whammy.4
These are the diabetes ABCs:
A is for the A1C test. That’s the test that shows what your blood sugar levels have been the past three months. In most cases, you want to shoot for a number below 7.
B is for blood pressure. A great goal is below 140/80. The top number measures pressure in vessels as your heart beats. The bottom number measures pressure when vessels relax between beats.5
C is for cholesterol. Ask your doctor or me the numbers you need.4
3. Are you managing your medicines?
If you have type 1 diabetes, you must use insulin. Some people with type 2 diabetes need pills and/or insulin to meet target blood glucose levels.6 Although lifestyle is a first line of defense, cholesterol medications such as statins can help control cholesterol levels.7 As for high blood pressure, there are many classes of drugs to keep this silent killer at bay.5
It may not be easy keeping track of all this, especially if you’re taking multiple medications. That’s what I’m here for. I can explain how each drug works, what side effects to watch for, and how to make sure you’re taking them all properly.
So, what’s your diabetes story? Together, let’s make sure it has a happier ending.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.
1. CDC: New CDC data show declines in some diabetes-related complications among US adults. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0416-diabetes-complications.html Accessed 4/22/15.
2. MedlinePlus:Nearly 10 Percent of U.S. Adults Now Have Diabetes: Study. Available at:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_145673.htmlAccessed 4/22/14.
3. Diabetes Education Program: The Power to Control Diabetes Is in Your Hands. Available at:http://ndep.nih.gov/publications/PublicationDetail.aspx?PubId=28 Accessed 4/23/14.
4. Diabetes Education Program: Know Your Diabetes ABCs. Available at: http://ndep.nih.gov/i-have-diabetes/KnowYourABCs.aspx Accessed 4/22/15
5. ADA: Treating High Blood Pressure in People with Diabetes. Available at: http://professional.diabetes.org/admin/UserFiles/file/Reducing%20Cardiometabolic%20Risk_%20Patient%20Education%20Toolkit/English/ADA%20CMR%20Toolkit_20HighBloodPressure.pdf Accessed 4/22/15.
6. American Diabetes Association: Medication. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/ Accessed 4-23-14.
7. Mayo Clinic: Cholesterol medications: Consider the options. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol-medications/art-20050958 Accessed 4-23-14.