25.8 million (8.3%) Americans have diabetes and of these Americans, 7 million do not know that they have the disease. 1.9 million people ages 20 or older were diagnosed with diabetes. http://ndep.nih.gov/diabetes-facts/
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that causes blood sugar levels to become higher than normal. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is caused by too little insulin or inability to use insulin correctly in the body. Insulin is responsible for helping your body use glucose for energy. Some other causes of high blood sugar include stress, eating too much, or not having a sufficient amount of physical activity. Here are some signs of elevated blood sugar in the body:
• Frequent Urination
• Increased thirst
• Increased hunger
Eating healthy is very important in preventing diabetes or when you have diabetes. This is a sample menu plan. (Your weight should be taken into account for each meal idea. This meal plan is for someone who needs 1,600 calories a day)
• Breakfast: Whole-wheat pancakes, waffles or toast, one piece of fruit or 3/4 cup of berries, 6 ounces of nonfat vanilla yogurt.
• Lunch: Grilled Cheese (no butter), a hand full of almonds and glass of milk
• Dinner: Pan Seared Chicken with Tomato-Olive Relish with a side salad with 1 1/2 cups spinach, 1/2 of a tomato, 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar.
• Snacks: Cucumber snacks
• Healthy carbohydrates. Example: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and low-fat dairy products.
• Fiber-rich foods. Foods high in fiber include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), whole-wheat flour and wheat bran.
• Eat heart-healthy fish at least twice a week. Example, cod, tuna and halibut, salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and bluefish. However, avoid fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury, such as tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel.
• ‘Good’ fats. Such as avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, olives, and canola, olive and peanut oils. Eat them sparingly, however, as all fats are high in calories.
Moderation is the key!! Try the Hand Jive methods to track your portions.
Increasing Your Physical Activity can lower blood sugar.
Here are some tips on how to start your physical activity.
1. Strength training (ex. weight lifting) at least twice a week.
2. Ease into it. If you’re not active now, start with 10 minutes of exercise at a time, and gradually work up to 30 minutes a day.
3. Make it a habit. Exercise, eat, and take your medicines at the same time each day to prevent hypoglycemia.
4. If possible, exercise with someone who knows you have diabetes and knows what to do if your blood sugar gets too low. Plus, it’s more fun to work out with someone else, it can help you stick with it. Also, wear a medical identification tag, or carry a card that states that you have diabetes, just in case.
5. Be good to your feet. Wear good shoes, and practice proper foot care.
6. Hydrate. Drink water before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
7. Stop if you have any unexpected pain. Mild muscle soreness is normal. Sudden pain is not.
There have been cases where people get hypoglycemia episode when they are exercising and these are some sign and some ways to help in this situation.
Signs of hypoglycemia:
• Rapid heartbeat
What to do in a hypoglycemia episode?
• Always carry a source of simple carbohydrates (15 g) with you in case of hypoglycemia episode. Eat something even if you don’t have a blood glucose monitor to test your level but you feel the symptoms of a low blood sugar level. Make sure to stay hydrated during exercise and replenish your electrolytes afterward.
• Examples of 15-20g of Carbs:
o 3-4 Skittles
o Glucose tablets (3 x 5g tablets)
o ½ Cup of 100% Fruit Juice
o 1 cup (8 oz) Non-fat or 1% Milk
o 1 Tablespoon of Sugar or Honey
o 2 Tablespoons of Raisins