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iabetes has reached epidemic proportions.
According to the World Health Organiza-
tion, (, the number
of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million
in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. In addition, diabetes
is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart
attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
The month of May focused on stroke aware-
ness. For persons with diabetes, there is an increased
risk of stroke if blood sugars are not controlled. Hy-
perglycemia (elevated blood sugar levels) can cause
vessel inflammation, which raises the risk of stroke.
A quick review, first, of stroke symptoms, using the
F.A.S.T. acronym:
- facial asymmetry
-arm weakness
-speech changes
- time of onset of symptoms
If you experience any of these symptoms, you
should seek immediate medical care. Time is criti-
cal and immediate care can be lifesaving, reducing
the risk of long-term disability.
Lifestyle changes that may reduce your risk of an
initial / recurrent stroke can also improve your
overall health and wellbeing. Simple changes
can lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease and
Increase physical activity- aim for 30 minutes a
day, at least 5 days a week
Limit alcohol intake to 1 drink /day for women
and 2 drinks/day for men
Stop smoking (this includes electronic ciga-
rettes as well as chewing tobacco)
Get adequate sleep (7-8 hours a night is ideal)
Weight loss, if applicable, to maintain ideal body
Stress reduction
Maintain a healthy blood pressure- check with
your healthcare provider for guidance
Diet- incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables
into your diet; whole grains, lower intake of sug-
ary beverages, lean meats. Also limit your sodi-
um/salt intake by switching to herbs and spices
for flavor enhancements.
Looking for a great multipurpose activity
that can improve many areas of your life? It's time
to plant a garden and reaps the rewards of home
grown food. Gardening is a great way to incorpo-
rate daily activity into your lifestyle, reduce stress,
and add fresh foods (fruits and vegetables such
as watermelon, corn, tomatoes, asparagus, green
beans and strawberries) to your kitchen table.
Check out your local garden supply stores for ideas
on the best foods to plant this time of year and en-
joy the benefits of a healthier diet and most likely,
some costs saving benefits as well. Better health
and wellbeing await. Enjoy your summer!
Diabetes -
an Epidemic?
betes Corner
by Maureen Sullivan, RN, CDE*
*(CDE-Certified Diabetic Educator)