What is Diabetes

Smart Food Now: Diabetes is the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies.

Sarah Blunden, PDt CDE CPT, Dietitian, discusses the importance of making good lifestyle choices when managing diabetes.

Quiz: Do You Understand Type 2 Diabetes?

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Checking your blood sugars daily at home with a glucometer can help prevent diabetes complications.

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes you will want to ensure that you monitor your blood sugar levels carefully in order to avoid complications. Checking your blood sugars daily at home with a glucometer is one way you can do this.

The A1C target for most patients is 9.0% or lower.

The A1C target for most patients is 7.0% or lower. Keeping your A1C within a normal range can help reduce the complications of diabetes in the future. When these targets are not reached patients put themselves at risk for heart disease, stroke, eye damage, nerve damage and kidney damage.

Daily physical exercise can actually help improve your blood glucose levels.

There are a number of lifestyle considerations for diabetes patients when trying to lower and control blood sugar levels. In combination with a healthy mean plan, daily physical exercise can significantly contribute to overall health and improved blood glucose control.

Almost 60% of people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.

Almost 90% of people who have type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese puts added pressure on the body's ability to properly use insulin to control blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of developing diabetes.

Stress will not affect your blood sugar levels.

Diabetes management can affect one’s emotional well being. It’s well known that being stressed can raise blood sugar levels, so it’s important for patients with diabetes to learn some techniques to help reduce stress.
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Sarah Blunden, P.Dt, CDE, CPT, Professional Dietitian, talks about how mindful eating techniques can help with diabetes management.

Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, discusses diabetes management in relation to lifestyle choices.

Diabetes and Lifestyle Considerations

There are a number of lifestyle considerations people living with diabetes need to consider in order to maintain or control their blood glucose levels. One of the main, crucial parts is healthy eating.

Here are some tips:

Eating three times a day at regular times and having a healthy snack if needed. Choosing high fibre foods. High fibre foods will help control blood glucose levels, help with cholesterol, and make us feel full.

Drinking plenty of water during the day and choosing water over juice and soft drinks. Limiting the amount of sweets and sugar we eat in the day, and also limiting the amount of fatty foods. This will also help control body weight.

Weight loss can help control blood glucose levels and actually even lower blood glucose levels. So when following a healthy meal plan, physical exercise, physical activity, is important in managing diabetes and for our overall health.

The recommendations for people living with diabetes are trying to aim for 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise. Also aiming for three times a week resistance exercise, meaning using elastic bands or weights. If you’re new to exercise, just starting, or trying a new program, make sure to speak to your physician first for your safety.

Managing diabetes can sometimes be overwhelming. The research shows that stress can cause our blood glucose levels to rise, so a healthy part of managing diabetes is learning techniques to also manage stress.

So here are some helpful tips in managing stress:

First of all, ask for help. When we’re feeling overwhelmed, we need to ask for help. Looking at other techniques for relaxation, something that works for you, whether it’s meditation, or breathing.

Being prepared, so for example having sugar packets on you in case of hypoglycemia. And be positive. We need to remain positive. If things didn’t work out that day or something didn’t happen, focus more on the positives.

Remember, in keeping your A1C within target, this can help prevent long-term complication of diabetes. In following a healthy meal plan, doing regular exercise and managing stress, are all key components in staying healthy.

If you have more questions on how to live with diabetes, please feel free to reach out to your physician, nurse, dietitian, pharmacist, or other health care professional.

Presenter: Ms. Sarah Blunden, Registered Dietitian, Ville Saint-Laurent, QC

Local Practitioners: Registered Dietitian

Callie Bland discusses wellness coaching and diabetes.

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