National Diabetes Month

It’s National Diabetes Awareness Month!

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and we want to provide the tools you need to decrease your risk of diabetes or help you manage your diabetes to ensure a healthy life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, but one out of every four don’t know they have it. Additionally, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Though there isn’t a cure for diabetes, what you do each day will make a huge difference in your life.

About 90 percent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your body either fights the effects of insulin or doesn’t provide enough insulin to your body, making it hard to maintain a normal glucose level. Unfortunately, symptoms for type 2 diabetes develop slowly, so it may be hard to determine whether or not you have it right away. In fact, you can have type 2 diabetes for years and not know.

Here are a few warning signs you can look for:

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
  • Areas of darkened skin

Don’t Let Your Diabetes Take Over

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, don’t let it discourage you from living a happy and healthy life. Learning how to take care of your diabetes starts the minute you are diagnosed. As long as you are aware and educated, you’re on your way to effectively managing your health.

Here are a few reminders that may help you manage your diabetes successfully:

  • Eat healthy: Consume more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Maintain a diet that consists of less sugar and salt. It’s also important to eat three meals a day at a regular mealtime.
  • Exercise frequently: Try to stay physically active by working out for 10 to 30 minutes each day. Exercise will not only make you feel better, but will make it easier to control your diabetes.
  • Take your medication: Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. It may help keep blood sugar levels normal.
  • Monitor your blood sugar: Track your blood sugar regularly to understand how different foods, activities and medicine affect your blood sugar levels and keep a log to track any changes.

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Get To The Heart Of Heart Disease

Get to the Heart of Heart Disease

We can fill, warm, break, change and give our hearts, but perhaps the most important role of a heart to have is to be a healthy and it’s up to us to make sure it is. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, with one in four deaths caused by heart disease. February is dedicated celebrating not only the metaphorical purpose of a heart, but also its physical purpose.

In honor of American Heart Month, AltaMed wants to make sure you’re aware that heart disease, which includes cardiac arrest and stroke, can be easily prevented. To make sure your heart is in the right place, you can start by making some healthy lifestyle choices, and by talking to your PCP about how to manage conditions that could put you at risk.

Here are a few quick and easy changes you can begin today!

Don’t Pass the Salt

  • Choose fresh (e.g., fruits and veggies) over processed (e.g., frozen and canned) foods.
  • Pay attention to nutrition labels and opt for items with a daily sodium value of 5 percent or less.
  • Use spices like garlic or onion powder, chili or herbs instead of salt, to add flavor.

Get Moving

  • Make physical activity a part of your daily life; obesity is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • Start with 15 minutes of brisk walking at least 3 to 4 days a week.
  • Work up to at least 2 ½ hours of exercise a week.

Know Your Numbers

  • Maintain a healthy weight—losing just 10 pounds, if you are overweight, can lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation: at most, one drink a day for women, two for men.
  • Keep an eye on your cholesterol and blood pressure, and talk to your PCP about how to lower both.

Alter Your Patterns

  • Switch to non- or low-fat dairy products.
  • Opt for fish, chicken without skin, and lean cuts of beef or pork.
  • Quit smoking. It’s the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S.

It will take commitment and dedication to follow through on these changes, but the benefits far outweigh any costs. Get your family involved to help you stay motivated, and watch as everyone’s health improves. Also, be sure to wear red not just on Valentine’s Day, but also on February 3, as part of National Wear Red Day, which aims to raise awareness in women about the importance of heart health.

AltaMed Doctor taking patients blood pressure.

Take Care with Your Health Care

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” and the same sentiment can be applied to your health plan. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), an additional estimated 20 million Americans now have health coverage. It’s up to you to make sure you take advantage of everything your insurance has to offer. 

Beyond taking a closer look at the details of your specific plan, here are a few easy and basic ways to make the most of the benefits included in your health coverage. 

  • Wellness Visit: These provide an overall picture of your health and how you can make improvements by checking stats like blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI) and weight.
  • Preventive Services: Keeping you healthy is just as important to your provider as it is to you. So be sure to use any and all free services they offer, which can include immunizations, colonoscopies, diabetes checks, contraceptives, osteoporosis and anemia screenings, prenatal care and mammograms, just to name a few.
  • Education: Many plans include classes on fitness, nutrition, overall healthy living and chronic disease management. 
  • Annual Physical: Preventive exams are key to catching any serious health issues like cancer and diabetes early, before they start, or early enough to be properly treated. It’s also a great time to talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have, and to get important shots and vaccinations. 
  • Discounts: You’d be surprised what kind of health and wellness products and services may be available through your insurance. Think discounts on gym memberships, eye exams, and chiropractic or acupuncture visits, as well as programs and support groups to help quit smoking. 
  • Nurse Advice Line: Typically available 24/7, you can save yourself and your family a trip to the emergency room or urgent care by calling these helplines , which have registered nurses on hand to answer your questions and point you in the right direction. 
  • Prescriptions: Not only is medication more affordable if your doctor prescribes you the generic version, but if your plan has a mail service pharmacy option, you’ll be able to save a trip to the pharmacy. 

It’s National Diabetes Awareness Month!