November is American Diabetes Month, a month set aside to educate the general public about this serious, and sometimes debilitating disease. One of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States, diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems if it’s not controlled.
One in 10 Americans have diabetes — that’s more than 30 million people. Another 84 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Fortunately, people who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than half if they make healthy changes in their life – such as eating healthy, getting more physical activity, and losing weight. Those with diabetes in their family tree should be especially aggressive about making these changes as the risk of diabetes increases dramatically based on genetics.
Here are some tips for “tackling” Thanksgiving, football, and diabetes:
One of the most important considerations for those of us managing our diabetes or similar health issues, is to keep your blood sugars balanced during the day. Stable blood sugars ensure that your visual functioning remains consistent and at its best. The most effective way to balance blood sugars is to eat vegetables and proteins. So, on Thanksgiving Day, plan to eat small balanced meals at your regular meal times –breakfast and lunch –before the big dinner meal. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner by eating small portions of the food available for the meal. Leave the leftovers. Go back to your normal healthy eating the next day. It’s also an excellent idea to get up and move a little. Take an after meal walk and reminisce with loved ones, stand up, stretch, and move during commercial breaks of the football and basketball games or better yet, go outside and toss the football yourself with the kids!
Even if you are already a diabetic, you can limit the progression and impact of the disease by carefully monitoring your health and following your doctor’s plan of action to diligently treat your diabetes. Further information about the prevention and treatment of this disease can be found on the American Diabetes Association website at www.diabetes.org.
Living Well with Diabetes and Vision Loss is a United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta sponsored program run by VRS. Each month we work to provide information that we feel is helpful to those living with diabetes and vision loss.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects how the body uses food for energy due to insulin resistance. Diabetes affects the metabolism as well as the immune system. The disease causes the immune system to destroy insulin producing cells within the pancreas. The immune response is also much lower in people who have diabetes so they are more susceptible to getting infections that could result in the loss of a limb.
Many of us will remember the days of toting our children to the doctor to get their recommended immunizations and protect them from various diseases. As adults, however, we often neglect much needed vaccinations which are recommended and help prevent dangerous and sometimes deadly diseases. To stay protected against serious illnesses, adults need to get vaccinated too. Shots such as the flu vaccine, are recommended annually for all adults and other shots such as the pneumonia or Shingles vaccine may also be recommended by your doctor.
Take this short quiz below to determine what shots you may need to take, then talk to your doctor about each. Don’t neglect the steps you need to take to be at optimal health.
The Adult Vaccine Quiz from the CDC: https://www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultImmSched/
To stay healthy this winter also be sure to eat well, get some exercise and plenty of sleep. The immune system fights best for you when it is healthy and taken care of. Allow for time with family or friends playing games or sharing stories and leisure activities. Laugh a lot. Our emotional health is tied directly to our immune system and when we feel a part of a community our immune system works its best.
Cycle Élan gave VRS Diabetes Support Group and staff a warm welcome during their beginner’s cycling class June 22, 2017. VRS enjoyed a private 30-minute high-energy cycling class complete with great music and lots of motivation from the instructor, April. Each client was provided a cycle that tracked their progress, displayed their speed, distance traveled and more. April encouraged everyone to work at their own pace but not be afraid to push themselves. Everyone seemed to push themselves not only to complete the 30 minutes but to increase their tension levels and speeds. Assan, another Cycle Élan instructor, cruised the studio to ask each client how they were doing and to encourage them to do what felt comfortable. VRS client, Derrick Whitaker, felt comfortable cycling at high speed and high tension. He breezed through the cycling class with ease, earning the longest distance of all the cyclists. Admittedly, Derrick spends a lot of time at the gym and had a clear advantage over those who were not as experienced. He was an inspiration to all to really put the petal to the metal.
Way to go Derrick !
After 30 minutes, the Diabetes Support Group accumulated several miles of distance and burned a major amount of calories. After class, Cycle Élan provided cold eucalyptus-scented towels to help cool body temperatures. After blood sugar levels were checked, the class enjoyed some snacks and conversation about how much fun the class was. Everyone seemed pleased with their progress and encouraged to engage in a fitness routine.
Some even said they would return to Cycle Élan for more classes. Why not? The facilities, instructors, classes and hospitality were great! VRS would like to extend a big thank you to Cycle Élan for welcoming the VRS Diabetes Support Group and helping to inspire to get the wheels moving toward fitness.
Cycle Élan, an indoor cycling and yoga studio, visited VRS June 14th to show some of our Diabetes support group, funded by United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, tips on indoor cycling safety and benefits. The session began with clients introducing themselves and sharing their “eye statement” with Cycle Élan instructors. They also discussed their experience with exercising and cycling. Each client had an interesting story to share about their exercise history. While some were frequent exercisers who went to the gym regularly, others were less experienced and uncertain about whether cycling was safe for them. Instructors, Assan and April, eased their fears by instructing on mounting and dismounting cycles safely.
DeAstin, our Program Assistant, led the way. “Ater dismounting the bike, DeAstin said, “That was cool!”
Each client had the opportunity to get on the cycle and experience different tensions and speeds.
They also learned which parts of the body are impacted by cycling and what to expect during a cycling session at a gym or studio. By the end of the session each client was prepared for the upcoming field trip to Cycle Elan where they will experience a 30-minute beginners cycling session, complete with high energy and music and instruction. Our clients showed their enthusiasm and willingness to try new things. Stay tuned for more VRS adventures in cycling.