Steps to Banishing My Diabetes Worry Wart

August 16, 2011 in Diabetes, Diabetes Management, Weight Management by Joyce Bunderson

Since I’ve written so frequently about type 2 diabetes, how to prevent it and how to avoid it; I’m concerned that you may be thinking that I have a worry wart vibrating in my brain, especially as related to type 2 diabetes. But when I read the stats telling how the prevalence of type 2 diabetes continues to grow, and of course, the resulting medical problems, then that ‘worry wart’ on the brain begins to itch wildly. There have been a few new studies that I’m itching to share with you; hopefully they will both be a benefit to you, and quiet down the worry wart. One of the things that I worry about is the fact that one out of three people with type 2 diabetes doesn’t know they have it. Not taking needed actions can have serious consequences for those running around not knowing.

Of course, many sources, including this blog, have covered before the unhappy destinations where uncontrolled diabetes takes its victims; so today I won’t spend any effort on the accelerated heart disease (two out of three people with diabetes die of heart disease) and are at a two to four times higher risk for stroke; high blood pressure; nerve pain/damage, especially toes/feet, fingers/hands, digestive system; amputation; kidney disease; and blindness. These are serious consequences, but today I want to focus on what can be done about it; how to protect yourself and your family. (Oops, that list just snuck in when I opened the door a crack. Blame that worry wart!).

To begin with, it is good to be familiar with the signs/early symptoms of diabetes.

  • Increased thirst or appetite and/or frequent urination, maybe also dry mouth, is often one of the first signs.
  • Headaches, fatigue, and blurred vision
  • Infections, cuts or sores that don’t heal or are slow to heal.
  • Yeast infections, often in the groin of both men and women
  • Erectile dysfunction

You can alter some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes – you can make a difference in your risk; don’t sit back thinking diabetes is inevitable.

  1. Keep your BMI under 25
  2. Exercise for at least 30 minutes, five days a week – If you are trying to counter Metabolic Syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that can lead to heart disease and diabetes, a new Duke University study suggests combining aerobic exercise with weight training. In another study, UCLA’s Preethi Srikanthan found that building muscle helps to protect against diabetes. Contemplate benefiting from both studies; if you’re not doing both aerobic exercise and weight training (which tends to build muscle) start to make plans to fit them into your lifestyle. It’s worth every minute you spend!
  3. Eat a healthy diet – You can read hundreds of articles on this website about eating healthy, including information about reducing red meat and especially processed meat; but a new study has found a relationship between red meat consumption and type 2 diabetes. The recommendation is to reduce red meat consumption, particularly processed red meat, and replacement of it with other healthy dietary components, should be considered to decrease type 2 diabetes risk. The source of this recommendation is researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.
  4. Be screened for prediabetes.
  5. Monitor your cholesterol and blood fats
  6. Monitor your blood pressure
  7. Don’t smoke – If you’re worried about gaining weight if you quit (messing up your BMI goals), you may be interested in a recent study reported by Mary Elizabeth Dallas in HealthDay News, called Pumping Iron Helps Smokers Quit Without Weight Gain: Study.

Worrying doesn’t really resolve anything – so having humored it, I can now banish my ‘worry wart.’  The only way that I know to keep ridding myself of that frequently vibrating wart is to try to get the word out – diabetes is a formidable challenge to quality of life and health. If we can take the seven steps listed above toward reducing the risk and prevalence of diabetes, it could lengthen and improve so many lives. Maybe we can, together, spread this worthy message and keep my ‘worry wart’ at bay at the same time.