Managing prediabetes or diabetes
Diabetes and its precursor is a major problem, both in the United States and across the globe. In 2015, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that nearly 50 percent of adults living in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes, a condition marked by higher than normal blood glucose levels that are not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes
Preventing diabetes should be a priority for men, women and children, but management must take precedence for the millions of people who have already been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, making healthy food choices is an essential step in preventing or managing diabetes. Making those choices can be difficult for those people who have never before paid much attention to their diets, but the AHA offers the following advice to people dealing with prediabetes or diabetes.
• Limit foods that may worsen your condition. Some foods, including fiber-rich whole grains and fish like salmon that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, can help people with prediabetes or diabetes. But many more foods must be limited, if not largely ignored. Limit your consumption of sweets and added sugars, which can be found in soda, candy, cakes, and jellies. It’s also good to limit your sodium intake and resist fatty meats like beef and pork.
• Document your eating habits. The AHA recommends that people with prediabetes or diabetes maintain a food log to see how certain foods affect their blood glucose levels. Within 60 to 90 minutes of eating, check your blood glucose levels to see how your body reacts to the foods you eat. As your food log becomes more extensive, you will begin to see which foods match up well with your body and which foods you may want to avoid.
• Plan your meals. Hectic schedules have derailed many a healthy lifestyle, but people who have been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes do not have the luxury of straying from healthy diets. Plan your meals in advance so your eating schedule is not erratic and your diet includes the right foods, and not just the most convenient foods. Bring lunch and a healthy snack to work with you each day rather than relying on fast food or other potentially unhealthy options in the vicinity of your office.
• Embrace alternative ingredients. Upon being diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, many people assume they must abandon their favorite foods. But that’s not necessarily true. Many dishes can be prepared with alternative ingredients that are diabetes-friendly. In fact, the AHA has compiled a collection of diabetes-friendly recipes that can be accessed by visiting www.heart.org.
A prediabetes or diabetes diagnosis requires change, but these conditions can be managed without negatively affecting patients’ quality of life.
The best (and worst) foods for heart health
No one wants to hear from their doctors that they have joined the millions of people across the globe to be diagnosed with heart disease. The Heart Foundation reports that heart disease, which includes diseases of the heart and cardiovascular system and stroke, is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, affecting both men and women and most racial/ethnic groups.
Many factors contribute to the development of heart disease, including smoking, lack of exercise and stress. Diet and whether a person is overweight or obese also can have a direct link to heart health.
A variety of foods are considered helpful for maintaining a strong and healthy heart and cardiovascular system, while others can contribute to conditions that may eventually lead to cardiovascular disease or cardiac arrest. The following are some foods to promote heart health and some foods you might want to avoid.
• Tree nuts: Tree nuts contain unsaturated fats that can help lower LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff) and improve HDL (the good stuff). Nuts also are a filling source of protein and other healthy nutrients.
• Whole grains: Whole grains contain complex carbohydrates for energy, as well as protein and fiber. Fiber can help scrub cholesterol from the blood, lowering bad cholesterol levels.
• Fatty fish: Many cold-water, fatty fish, such as halibut, herring and salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart-healthy.
• Beans: Beans and other legumes are an excellent source of protein and can be a stand-in for meats that are high in saturated fat. Beans also contain cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber and folate, which can reduce blood homocystein levels.
• Yogurt: Yogurt contains good bacteria that can counteract bad bacteria and boost immunity.
• Raisins: Raisins contain antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is often linked to heart disease and other debilitating conditions. Fresh produce also is a good source of antioxidants.
• Fried foods: Many fried foods have little nutritional value, as they tend to be high in saturated and trans fats. French fries are particularly bad because they are carbohydrates fried and then doused in salt.
• Sausage: Processed meats have frequently earned a bad reputation among cardiologists, but sausage can be a big offender, due in large part to its high saturated fat content.
• Red meats: Enjoying a steak is probably not as bad as eating a deep-fried brownie, but it’s best to limit red meat consumption to about 10 percent or less of your diet. Red meats can have a considerable amount of cholesterol, saturated fat and calories.
• Added sugars: Sugar can increase blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Sugar often hides out in foods that you would not associate with the sweetener.
• Salty foods: Leave the salt shaker in the spice cabinet and opt for herbs for flavoring, advises the American Heart Association. High-sodium diets often are to blame for hypertension, a major risk factor for heart disease.
• Dairy: Artery-clogging saturated fat also can be found in dairy products, particularly the full-fat versions. Butter, sour cream and milk can be problematic when people overindulge. Opt for low-fat dairy when possible.
Activity Counts for All Ages!
By the National Diabetes Education Program
Being active is not only good for you, it’s important for the children and teens in your life as well! Our bodies benefit when we’re active, especially if we have diabetes. Being active can help you feel better, reduce stress, keep your weight and blood sugar (blood glucose) levels in a healthy range, and increase your energy level. You sleep better, too.
As more and more youth become overweight and less active, type 2 diabetes once only seen in adults over 40 – is now being found in teens. You can play a key role by helping the children and teens in your life lower their risk for type 2 diabetes, especially if the disease runs in your family. Children and teens can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes if they stay at a healthy weight by being more active and choosing to eat the right amounts of healthy foods.
There are many ways you can be more active with the children and teens in your life.
Play music and share some of your own dance steps. Take a walk together, or ride bikes. How about walking the dog, doing yard work, or planting a garden together? Why not go swimming at the local pool or plan a date to go bowling? These are fun activities that families of all ages can enjoy.
Is your child or grandchild involved in school or community sports, such as basketball, golf, soccer, or tennis? Try to attend as many of the games as you can and show your support. Find out the game dates, and mark your calendar. Praise your teen for getting involved and the importance of staying active.
Learn more about events in your area. Are there any walks planned in your neighborhood? Perhaps there is a hike at a nearby park. You could also visit a local museum or zoo. These are great ways to be active as a family while having fun and meeting new people. Don’t forget to dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. Pack a small cooler or backpack of healthy snacks such as fresh or dried fruit, sliced raw vegetables, and nonfat or low-fat yogurt. Also, pack a few bottles of water instead of soda or juice.
The diabetes educators at your local health department are ready to help you take the first steps to prevent as well as manage diabetes – just call the local health department and ask to speak to the diabetes educator! You may also find more information on our website at www.lcdhd.org/diabetes/ or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LCDHD or Twitter: www.twitter.com/LCDHD .
The National Diabetes Education Program has a free tip sheet, Tips for Teens: Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes, to help the young people in your life learn more about how they can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes. Download or order the tip sheet and more free resources by visiting www.YourDiabetesInfo.org or calling 1-888-693-NDEP (1-888-693-6337), TTY: 1-866-569-1162.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the support of more than 200 partner organizations.
Stuart Spillman, RS, Environmental Health Director
Bed bugs have been a common pest for many centuries. In the mid 20th century wide use of pesticides like DDT and chlordane almost eradicated bed bugs from the U.S. In 1972 DDT was banned from use and later in 1988 chlordane was banned after these chemicals were found to be harmful to human health and the environment. Over the years as travel has increased to places where bed bugs still thrive people have brought them back to the U.S.
Bed bugs are not socioeconomic problem or a cleanliness problem. They can infest nursing homes, hospitals, offices and any dwelling. Bed bugs are not known to spread disease but do cause localized reactions such as itching. The bed bug is usually about a quarter inch long and reddish brown in color with an oval, flattened body. Bed bugs will feed on the blood of humans and animals mainly at night. They can be found almost anywhere in a building, but tend to prefer fabric and wood over metal or plastics.
Some common places bed bugs are found: mattress seams, headboard and bed frames, in or behind wall hangings, electric outlets or switches, under loose wallpaper, cracks in hardwood flooring, carpet, clothes in closets or drawers, and sofas or other upholstery.
Avoid picking up used furniture or mattresses. Any furniture from a rental service should be checked at the seams and creases. When traveling, check rooms thoroughly before sitting your luggage on beds or floor. Bed bugs prefer to hide close to where they feed. However, they will they will crawl several feet if necessary to obtain a blood meal. Initially, infestations tend to be around beds, but will eventually scatter throughout a room into any crevice where they can hide. They can also spread to adjacent rooms or apartments.
If you have bed bugs the most effective form of treatment is to call a certified pest control operator who can apply pesticides that cannot be purchased without a license. In general, over-the-counter products are not effective. If you live in an apartment you need to contact your landlord to schedule a licensed pest control operator to inspect and treat. If you cannot afford treatment you can pick up everything in an infested room and put anything you can into a dark, tightly wrapped plastic bag. Put the bag in a hot, sunny place (at least 120 degrees) or colder than freezing (below 32 degrees) for 2 weeks. Bedding and clothing should be laundered in hot water then dried on high heat or thrown away. When trying to clean bed bugs from carpet vacuuming is not enough, you must steam clean the carpet at a temperature of at least 120 degrees. The carpet may need replaced. If mattresses are infected you can also use a steamer at 120 degrees to clean, paying close attention to seams, if the mattress and box spring are badly infested you should cut beyond repair and seal with plastic then dispose of properly.
Sources: KY Dept. For Public Health, CDC, About.com