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Newsletter

Diabetes: The Basics

About Type 2 Diabetes

When you have type 2 diabetes, high levels of sugar build up in your blood. This can lead to serious health complications. That's why controlling your blood sugar is key to managing diabetes. Keeping your blood sugar under control lowers your risk for complications later. High blood sugar can harm your organs and raise your risk of heart disease.

Having type 2 diabetes means that your body doesn't make enough insulin, or doesn't properly use the insulin your body makes. Insulin is a hormone that is made in your pancreas. It helps your body's cells use sugar (also called glucose), which comes from foods and drinks. Sugar is a source of energy for cells.


This site focuses on type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. Typically, with type 2 diabetes, the body still makes insulin, but its cells can't use it. This is called insulin resistance. Over time, high levels of sugar build up in the bloodstream. Being overweight and inactive increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.


Other main types of diabetes include:

  • Type 1 diabetes, which often affects children (although adults can develop it, too). In this form of diabetes, the body can't make insulin. The immune system mistakenly attacks the cells in the pancreas that make and release insulin. As these cells die, blood sugar levels rise. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin shots.
  • Gestational diabetes, which occurs in some pregnant women. It can cause problems during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Women who get gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Life with type 2 diabetes
Managing type 2 diabetes means making some changes to how you live. Talk with your doctor about which changes are right for you. For example, it helps to:
  • Eat healthy, and lose weight if your doctor says you should
  • Be more active
  • Test your blood sugar regularly
  • Have your doctor check your A1C level (your average blood sugar over the past two to three months)
  • Take one or more diabetes medicines as prescribed by your doctor

Finding help on the web

No matter what disease, disorder, illness or condition you or family members are dealing with, there are other people who share your situation. The internet can provide information, resources, support groups, chat-rooms and so much more to help you with what you are going through and will give you a chance to share your experiences with others. You may also find information about local treatment options, support groups and treatments in your area.  Please take some time to explore the internet and keep checking those resources for updates that may help in your situation.


Disclaimer: The content in the diabetes.com program was developed by GlaxoSmithKline. This information is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice, nor is your doctor responsible for its content. You should promptly consult a medical professional if you have concerns about your health.

5 Holiday Survival Tips for Those with Diabetes

If you’ve been newly diagnosed with diabetes, you’re probably not looking forward to the temptation that’s about to present itself. That’s why we’re offering these 5 tips to survive the holidays when you have this condition.

 

Eat ahead of time:

If you’re invited over to dinner, make sure you eat a small, diabetes-friendly meal before you head out. Once you arrive, dine on micro-sized portions. This way, you’re not filling up on food that could give you a blood-sugar spike, but you’re also not hurting your host’s feelings by refusing their food.

 

Check your blood sugar frequently:

Even if you are watching what you eat, you should still keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels. This is especially true if you’re about to adjust your insulin dose or go driving. You may need to make allowances to account for changes in your exercise schedule or diet.

 

Shift your food budget for special food:

Does your auntie make a special nut roll every year that you just have to have? Adjust your food budget so you can include it in your daily carb intake. For example, if you usually have a certain number of carbs or sugar at dinner, cut back so that it’s lower than normal. That way, you can partake in your annual tradition!

 

Be smart at parties:

Don’t sit near the buffet table, as this may present too much temptation. If you do partake of the food, use a napkin instead of a plate—you’ll put less on it. If alcohol is offered, temper how much you drink. Even moderate alcohol intake can affect your blood sugar level, so don’t drink on an empty stomach.

 

Ask if you can bring a dish:

If your friends or relatives know you’re dealing with a health issue, they’ll probably be open to you to bringing something that’s friendly to your condition. Take a fruit or veggie platter along to share with everyone, so you don’t feel so left out!

 

In the whirlwind of activities, we urge you to keep in mind what the season is about—and why you’re making steps towards a healthier self. Focusing on both these things will hopefully lead to a less stressful holiday experience.

Best Tips to Fight Pre-diabetes

You’ve known for a while now that you need to lose some weight, but you always thought it could wait until after Valentine’s Day… after the winter... until after the school year is over… Or maybe even that, I will start on Monday trick we always pull on ourselves. 

But now, your doctor delivers the news: you have pre-diabetes. You’ve joined approximately a third of the adult American population. There is no more time for excuses. You have to get this under control. Follow these steps to lead you in the right step to better health. 

How to Fight Pre-diabetes with Exercise

Your doctor probably already talked to you about this, but it’s easier said than done, right? Sometimes, the biggest hurdle is just carving out the time in your day. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week. A few places you can carve out exercise time include:

  •         Lunch breaks: If there is an area around your workplace where you can walk, exercise or otherwise move, take advantage of that. You may even find that spending part of your workday moving around can help you return to your job feeling refreshed for the rest of the day.
  •          Morning routine: We know, it can be hard sometimes to sneak in those 8 hours of rest every day. But, if you have the kind of chaotic schedule during the day that makes predicting when you can get in a workout impossible, sometimes getting up a half hour early can really help.
  •         In between tasks: If you have a few moments in between certain tasks throughout the day, try sneaking in a bit of a workout. Have exercise equipment—such as a stationary bike—close by so you can jump on it

How to Fight Pre-diabetes with Healthy Eating

The best way to go about this is to stick to a low-fat, reduced calories plan. But, just like exercise this can be easier said than done, especially when you start to get hungry. A few things you can do to combat that empty feeling are:

  •          Try to eat as much lean protein as possible. This will give you energy and help you eat less throughout the day. For example, eggs, fish, chicken and turkey all tend to be high in protein and low in fat and calories. Make sure you read the nutrition information and compare how much it has of each.
  •          Portion control. Understand what it takes to help you feel satisfied and stick with that. With some food, it takes more calories than others to help you feel full. For example—a cup of broccoli will last you longer and contains far fewer calories than a cup of ice cream!

Remember, losing 5 to 7 percent of your weight is a big step towards reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It will take some life changes, but you can do it!

Diabetes + Foot Care

While the popular knowledge of diabetes is that diabetics have to check their blood glucose constantly, it is a lesser known fact that diabetics also have to take especially good care of their feet.  That’s because diabetes can cause diabetic neuropathy in which nerves in the extremities, most often the feet, are damaged.

This decreased sensation in the feet can lead to skin damage and wounds like contact sores and ulcers. Leaving these sores untreated can lead to gangrenous infections and amputation of the foot or lower leg. That’s why a proper foot care program is vital to diabetics.

First and foremost, a nightly wash of your feet with mild soap and warm (not hot) water prevents fungal or bacterial infections. When you dry, be sure to “pat,” not “rub” as this can irritate the skin. After thoroughly drying your feet, especially between your toes, apply lotion to cracked or dry areas. Avoid putting lotion between your toes as the added moisture is a breeding ground for fungal infections.

You should also examine the tops and bottoms of your feet every day for cracked or dry skin, blisters, cuts, scratches, sores or any other wounds or red, tender spots. You should also check for ingrown toenails,corns and calluses or anything else that could turn into an open sore.

Most of all, just be smart. Protect your feet at all times by never going barefoot. You may also want to invest in socks and footwear made specifically for diabetics that help reduce the occurrence of blisters and sores.

If you have any questions about a wound or how to care for it, schedule an appointment with your doctor or a podiatrist.

10 Favorite Diabetes-Friendly Dinners

“Do you have to eat different meals than the rest of your family?” “You must spend a fortune on special foods.” “So eating this pizza could kill you, right?”

When it comes to a diabetic diet, myths abound. While it’s true you need to keep a closer eye on your food intake than the average foodie, the key is balance, not deprivation. These low-carb dinner recipes offer the same flavors you crave with a couple of smart swaps that’ll hardly phase your family:

1.     1.  Veggie Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce. Sneak some noodles inside a crunchy lettuce wrap to balance carbs in a light option loaded with Asian flavors.

2.     2.  Zucchini Lasagna. Cut in long strips, zucchini takes the place of traditional lasagna. The meaty, cheesy, tomatoey flavor of this classic dish remains the same!

3.     3.  Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers. Load hollowed green or red peppers with a blend of beans, rice, turkey, and a blend of smoky flavors for a dish that’s easy to eat now or freeze for later.

4.     4.  Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry. In under thirty minutes, you can chop, sautee, and enjoy this fresh stir fry.

5.     5.  Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken Breasts. A simple, flavorful oil rub makes this chicken dish a go-to when you’re stretched for time.

6.     6.  Firehouse Enchiladas. With just 32 carbs per serving, these enchiladas made with corn tortillas delivers a family favorite with a spicy kick.

7.     7.  Slow Cooker Shredded Pork Sandwiches. Easy, easy, easy. Flavorful pork preps itself while you’re away, and it’s a knock-out when topped with a cream slaw.

8.     8.  Four Cheese Mac & Cheese. You’re never too old for Mac & Cheese. This four-cheese variation with whole grain pasta offers a grown-up, lower carb alternative to a family favorite.

9.     9.  Cucumber Greek Salad. This tangy Mediterranean classic takes all the flavor of a gyro and funnels it into a bowl. Add marinated chicken for extra protein and an optional pita for carb control.

10.  10. Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs. These squash boats create a fun and carb conscious take on the traditional pasta dish.

While you’re bustling around the kitchen, make sure your feet are fully supported with the proper footwear.

Bon appétit!