I know during the busy holiday season, many of us like to focus on all the great holiday food that we’ll be chowing down on this Thanksgiving and Christmas. While some of us can eat worry free this season, those living with diabetes need to pay careful attention to what they indulge in.
While November brings the yummy food of Thanksgiving, it is also American Diabetes Month.
It is a time to increase awareness and promote finding improving treatments and cures for diabetes.
Many of us may have diabetes ourselves or know someone personally who suffers from diabetes. This disease can be devastating to both the person that has it as well as their family, and diabetes demands to be properly managed. Currently, diabetes affects over 23 million people in the United States and recent studies have shown that a person’s risk of stroke more than doubles if they’ve had Type 2 diabetes for five years. The risk triples after ten years. Women with diabetes have an even higher risk of fatal heart attacks as well as kidney disease.
As your body breaks down the foods that you eat, it produces glucose which is a sugar. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and it helps to carry the glucose to the body’s cells where it is then used to produce energy. When a person has Type 2 diabetes the body doesn’t produce enough insulin (hypoglycemia) or the cells ignore the insulin, which causes a person to have too much glucose in their blood (hyperglycemia).
One of the best ways to prevent or manage Type 2 diabetes is through physical activity. Exercise provides many benefits, as well as improving your body’s ability to use insulin. Exercise will also keep your blood pressure and blood sugar levels low. Losing weight and body fat will also reduce your risk for diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
The holiday months, which kick off at Thanksgiving can be a time of year where people tend to eat a bit too much and let their exercise habits lapse. Don’t let that happen, enjoy the holidays but watch what you eat and head out the door for some exercise after a big meal.
Here are a few tips on how to stay active during the holiday months:
- Take a spinning or exercise class at your local recreation center.
- Take the stairs at your building if possible. Stair climbing can be a great cardiovascular workout.
- Use your lunch break to go on a quick walk.
- Buy a cross-trainer or stationary bike for your house and work out each night.
- Form a neighborhood workout club and get together for walks and workouts.
We hope that you have a happy and healthy holiday season!
For more information about diabetes, including awareness and management, please visit the American Diabetes Association’s website at www.diabetes.org.