By: Alicia Hansen, St.Cloud Livea
BS-Nutritional Sciences-Dietetics
Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Sports Nutritionist

More likely than not you know someone close to you who has or had diabetes, or you may even be the victim yourself. Did you know that in the U.S alone 34.2 million adults have diabetes. November is a special month giving awareness to diabetes with currently no cure (Type 1). Let’s dive into diabetes, the different types, prevention, and treatment for each.

Insulin and Glucose:

Our pancreas produces a hormone called insulin which navigates glucose (the main source of energy in the body which comes from the food we eat) out of our blood and into our cells to use as energy. If the pancreas cannot make enough of this hormone or the cells do not respond to insulin, glucose will remain in our blood resulting in high blood glucose levels.

Diabetes- 3 Main types:

There are 3 main types of diabetes; Type I, Type II and Gestational diabetes. Type I presents itself when the pancreas produces little or no insulin, making insulin replacement needed. Type I diabetes can occur no matter what age you are, gender, shape, and size. About 1 in 10 Americans have Type II diabetes, this is where cells in your body do not respond to the insulin produced in your body (insulin resistance). Gestational Diabetes develops during pregnancy and can usually go away after pregnancy.

Prevention/treatment:

Unlike type II diabetes which can be reversed by lifestyle changes, there is no cure for Type I. Even a moderate reduction in weight of about 10% can help prevent diabetes or help manage diabetes and reduce the risk for future complications. Regular physical activity has been proven to lower blood sugar, lose excess weight and boost sensitivity to insulin. Aim for 30 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, and 2-3 times a week of resistance training. Even just taking a few minutes to stand or going for a 30-minute walk during long periods of inactivity (such as sitting on the computer) can help control blood sugar levels.

For any individuals suffering from Type I diabetes a great support system is key along with the help of medical professionals. Diabetics who take advantage of insulin therapy and other treatments can learn to manage their condition and live long healthy lives.

Gestational diabetes can be managed by health care professionals and nutritionists to develop a healthy meal plan and or physical activity. Some women may need insulin injections if other treatments don’t work.

Healthy food choices:

Limit simple carbohydrates such as candy, soft drinks, white breads/rice, and sugary baked goods. Choose whole grain products whenever possible, not only do they have a higher nutritional value than more processed carbohydrates, but they will not spike your blood sugar as rapidly. Choose healthy fats (mono and polyunsaturated fats) vs trans and saturated. Eating a variety of non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens and legumes is important for healthy eating as well.

No matter the individual or the type of diabetic diagnosis, awareness is key. Being aware of a proper diet and healthy lifestyle will provide a more prominent outcome. I hope you have learned a little more about Diabetes, types, and prevention for Diabetes Awareness month.

Resources:

“Weight Loss.” Weight Loss | ADA, https://www.diabetes.org/fitness/weight-loss.

“What Is Type 1 Diabetes?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Mar. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/what-is-type-1-diabetes.html.

Colberg, S. R., et al. “Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes: The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: Joint Position Statement.” Diabetes Care, vol. 33, no. 12, 29 Nov. 2010, pp. e147–e167, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2992225/, 10.2337/dc10-9990.

Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue, and Ma 02115 +1495-1000. “Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes.” The Nutrition Source, 18 Sept. 2012, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/disease-prevention/diabetes-. Accessed 15 Nov. 2021.

“Diabetes Statistics: Read the Facts.” The Checkup, 29 Sept. 2020, www.singlecare.com/blog/news/diabetes-statistics/.

“American Diabetes Month | ADA.” Www.diabetes.org, www.diabetes.org/community/american-diabetes-month.