Diabetes is a serious and complicated disease, yet every individual with diabetes requires unique care.  It is a chronic disease that can be treated and managed and sometimes even prevented with the right interventions. Approximately one out of every two Americans is overweight. Obesity has become a chronic problem in this country increasing your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and eventually heart disease.  In simple terms, diabetes means the body’s mechanism for regulating blood glucose is not working efficiently. There may be defects in insulin production, insulin action or both. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar.  Chronic hyperglycemia of diabetes is associated with failure of various organs, especially the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and blood vessels. Regular screening is essential for early detection and treatment.

You can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by adhering to some lifestyle changes. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, obesity, and lack of exercise. First of all, if you are overweight try to lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off. Research suggests that losing as few as 10-20 pounds may be enough to improve blood glucose levels, improve blood pressure and lower lipids. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Physical activity is essential for cardiovascular health and to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Every day, engage in activities that move your body such as walking, gardening, playing tennis or golf. Talk to your doctor first to make sure physical activity is a healthy choice for you. Managing your blood pressure reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other problems.  Unhealthy cholesterol levels can raise your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Smoking can raise your risk of heart attacks and stroke.

  • Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include:
  • Individuals over the age of 45
  • Overweight
  • Lack of regular physical exercise
  • Family history of diabetes ( parents or siblings with diabetes)
  • Low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure
  • History of gestational diabetes or delivery of babies over 9 pounds
  • Racial ethnicity ( African-Americans, Hispanic – Americans, Native Americans, Asian – Americans, Pacific Islanders)

Medical Nutrition Therapy ( MNT) is significant to diabetes care and to the management of this disease.  The goals of MNT is to assist the individual in maintaining their blood sugars in as near-normal range as possible and help them achieve and maintain a reasonable body weight.  All foods are categorized as starches, meats, vegetables, fruits, milk, and fat.  If you have type I diabetes you focus on eating the same amount of carbohydrate at the same meal each day.  If you have type 2 diabetes you focus on the types of foods that you eat,  the size of the portions that you eat and how often you eat during the day. The main focus of meal planning with diabetes is on starch, fruit, and milk because they are the main carbohydrates in the diet. Healthy food choices are essential for good diabetes control. Eat a variety of foods.  Avoid skipping meals.  Learn what works best for you.  Some individuals prefer 3 meals per day and others prefer 2 meals a day with 2 snacks. Eat healthy carbohydrates. Eat less fat.  Drink non-fat or low-fat milk. Bake, broil, roast or grill meats instead of frying.  Watch your serving sizes. Reach and maintain a healthy weight.  Be physically active.

Diabetes is a common disease and we encourage you to learn as much as possible in regards to the most current medical therapies as well as healthy lifestyle choices. Good communication with a diabetes educator can help you feel in control and respond to your changing needs.  Treatment options are rapidly expanding and include diet, exercise, oral therapy, and insulin.

Our goal at Bartley is to keep you out of the hospital by helping you manage your diabetes.  Our dedicated staff are skilled and experienced in diabetes management and can provide ongoing counseling to help our residents manage their diabetes. Our wound team includes a wound nurse and dietitian that work together to prevent and treat any wound that may be related to diabetes.  We look forward to the opportunity of helping you care for your loved ones.