You At Your Best

November 2022 • Beating the Betes

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spoNsor coNteNt Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., with the American Diabetes Association reporting that 1.4 million people are diagnosed every year. People who have diabetes are at risk for complications including compromised eyesight and kidney function, as well as heart disease, foot problems and amputations. The most common form of diabetes, called Type 2, can largely be attributed to lifestyle factors. While research shows that making just a few healthy changes to your diet and activity level can help you prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes, these changes may seem overwhelming at first. Donita Clark, a certified diabetes educator at Washington Regional Diabetes Education program, offers some tips to help put a healthier lifestyle within your reach. Determine your risk factors "The American Diabetes Association offers an easy screening tool on its website,, to help you determine your risk," Clark says. "Discuss your screening results with your doctor, especially if any risk factors are present. Risk factors for pre-diabetes include being age 45 and older, overweight, physically inactive, having high blood pressure, abnormal lipid levels, having a parent or sibling with diabetes, or if one is a member of certain populations that have higher risk, including African American, Hispanic/ Latino, Native American, Asian American or Pacific Islander. Also, women who have had gestational diabetes or polycystic ovarian disease can have a higher risk." Make smart food choices "Many of the foods Americans eat are highly processed, which makes them higher in sugars, salt and fat, and lower in vitamins, minerals and fiber," Clark says. "Setting simple goals such as eating out less often and reading nutrition labels to choose healthy foods is a great start. Our doctors often suggest reducing carbohydrate intake and adhering to a 12- hour fast each night." Keep moving "Exercise is also a factor," Clark says. "As a society, we don't play and work outdoors as much as we used to and this decreases our calorie expenditure, ultimately causing weight gain. But losing just 5-10% of your body weight can greatly reduce diabetes risk. A helpful strategy for embracing exercise is to enlist a support network — either an exercise partner or an activity tracker that can help you stay motivated by monitoring your daily steps." Practice self-care "The American Diabetes Association is a great resource, both online and with its local offices," Clark says. "The ADA website offers help with meal planning, recipes and setting activity goals. Plus, the ADA-recognized education programs promote seven self-care behaviors which can help. Washington Regional Diabetes Education helps facilitate these positive behaviors in all aspects of our program: 1. Healthy eating 2. Being active 3. Monitoring 4. Taking medication if needed 5. Problem solving 6. Reducing risks 7. Healthy coping Another great resource is your medical provider. Washington Regional has three endocrinology providers: Dr. Rachel Kilpatrick, Dr. Lauren Hawkins and Ravonne John, APRN. They treat a variety of endocrine disorders, including diabetes. An ADA-recognized diabetes education program can also be helpful with ongoing classes, one-on-one education and support groups." Washington Regional's Diabetes Education program is available with a provider's referral for people with Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. For more information, visit . Diabetes education suNDaY, october 30, 2022 | November - beatiNg the betes | You at Your best | 3

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