November is American Diabetes Awareness Month and our pharmacists are taking a stand on diabetes.
What is diabetes?
There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Diabetes is a long-term condition where the body does not produce insulin (Type 1) or it does not produce enough insulin (Type 2) to maintain blood sugar at optimal levels.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
The more common and recognizable symptoms are frequent urination, sudden unexplainable weight loss, and constant thirst for liquids. Other symptoms could include nausea, abdominal pain, drowsiness, and blurred vision.
What should I do if I think I have diabetes?
If you have some of the symptoms listed above, share your concerns with your physician. A blood glucose or A1C test can be used to confirm your symptoms are being caused by diabetes. The earlier the diagnosis, the more likely you can avoid some of the diabetic complications.
How can I manage diabetes?
There are many lifestyle modifications that can be made to better manage your blood sugar. Meals consisting of fruits, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats are encouraged. A diet low in salt and sugar as well as saturated or trans fats can help lower risk of diabetes significantly. Developing and maintaining an exercise regimen is another good way to not only manage, but even prevent abnormally high blood sugar levels. Exercise is not limited to going to the gym or running for long periods of time. By simply taking a fifteen-minute walk, doing some extra chores around the house, or even stretching during TV commercials, your risk of a high blood sugar episode can be decreased significantly.
Monitoring your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter is a simple yet necessary preventative against abnormally high and/or low amount of sugar in your blood. Also, if you are prescribed medications to help keep your diabetes under control, be sure to take them as directed and not only when you are experiencing symptoms. Noncompliance to diabetic medications can lead to dangerous blood sugar levels and can possibly speed up the progression of the effects of diabetes on your body.
Talk with your pharmacist about any concerns or unanswered questions you may have regarding diabetes or healthy lifestyle choices. Pharmacies and pharmacists are a great resource to further your knowledge and make sure you are on the best path.
Josun Holub, PharmD
Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy District Director