Dr. Jillian Morgan | November 15th, 2014
Dr. Jillian Morgan

Dr. Jillian Morgan

Banana pudding, sweet potato pie, chocolate cake, cheesecake, pumpkin pie… oh my! Hello my Healthies! With the Holidays rapidly approaching, diets are sure to be out the window. However for large group of people, monitoring sweets and carb intake is still very important.

Diabetes is a health condition that affects roughly 30 million Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association. It is a very serious and life-long condition. Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose is the main sugar found in your blood and it is your body’s main source of energy. We get this energy source, glucose, from the foods that we eat. Once we eat the food, our body converts the glucose into usable energy. In order to make this conversion, we must first get the glucose into our cells. Glucose is carried into our cells by insulin. So insulin serves as the escort, or usher, to assist glucose into the cells. When the body does not have enough insulin to escort the glucose into the cells or the insulin is not functioning properly, then we get an excess of glucose floating around in the blood. This excess glucose is what leads to health problems.

These serious health problems may include: diabetes, and diabetes-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, kidney dysfunction and nerve damage that can lead to amputations. Due to the serious complications associated with diabetes, it is very important that, even during the holidays, individuals who are diabetic, or even pre-diabetic, continue to monitor their food intake and remain active. So after that big, tasty Thanksgiving dinner, please be sure to get out and walk around the block, shoot a few hoops, or play a game of, “The Michael Jackson Experience” with kids (trust me, it’s big fun and a WORKOUT!).

For those who have been diagnosed with diabetes, exercise, weight control and sticking to your meal plan can help control your diabetes. You should also monitor your glucose level and take medicine if prescribed. Developing an individualized plan with your physician or diabetes educator is very helpful. The diagnosis of diabetes is made through a series of blood tests including, a fasting glucose test and a test of A1c levels. These tests also help to differentiate between the three types of diabetes, type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes, as well as pre-diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, which used to be called juvenile diabetes, develops most often in young people. In type 1 diabetes, your body no longer makes insulin or enough insulin because the body’s immune system has attacked and destroyed the cells that make insulin.

Diabetes that occurs most frequently in adults is type 2 diabetes. This form of diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes; however it can affect people at any age, even children. Individuals who are overweight and inactive are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, which is a condition that occurs when fat, muscle, and liver cells do not appropriately use insulin to carry glucose into the body’s cells to use for energy. As a result, the body needs more insulin to help glucose enter cells.

Women are pregnant can develop what is known as gestational diabetes. During pregnancy, women make hormones that can lead to insulin resistance. Gestational diabetes most often goes away after the baby is born. Pre-diabetes is when the amount of glucose in your blood is above normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. With pre-diabetes, your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke are higher. However with weight loss and moderate physical activity, a person can delay or even prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. You may even be able to return to normal glucose levels, without taking any medicines. Approximately, 86 million Americans are currently pre-diabetic.

Some people with diabetes initially have no symptoms, while many people experience symptoms that can include, frequent urination, being very thirsty, feeling extremely tired, having sores that heal slowly, blurry vision, and a feeling of pins and needles in the feet. In an interview with Everyday Health, legendary singer Patti LaBelle revealed that she remained in denial about her own diabetes symptoms until she passed out on stage during a concert. After that incident, she got serious about her health and started a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet. She has also published several healthy cookbooks. Halle Berry, Ben Vereen and Sherry Shepard have all been diagnosed with diabetes as well.

So as you begin to enjoy the upcoming holiday season, I encourage you to continue to GET YOUR LIFE by limiting the amount of your aunt’s sweet potato pie that you eat and bundle up, go outside, and take your dog on an extra-long walk. November is Diabetes Awareness month so I urge you to use this month to meet with your physician or diabetes educator to get test for diabetes and develop a healthy holiday meal and exercise plan.

Blessings and Health for a Great Holiday Season! I will be taking a little time off for maternity leave but I will be back to talk health and healthy living with you in spring! Cheers to Good Health!

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