Jean Ince | County Extension Agent Staff Chair
Are you diabetic? Chances are if you are not diabetic, you certainly know someone who is diabetic. Diabetes is a disease with serious consequences and managing can be a challenge. Untreated, diabetes can increase a person’s risk of heart disease or stroke, kidney failure, blindness, lower limb amputation and nerve damage. The good news is diabetes can be controlled and with proper care can delay or even prevent other health problems.
What exactly is diabetes? It is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose, resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes is recognized as a leading cause of death in the United States. It is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every major part of the body.
There are certain factors that increase your chance of developing diabetes. These include age. As people age, they tend to be less active. This leads to unwanted weight gain which can result in diabetes. Your risk increases if you have a family history of diabetes. Another risk factor for developing diabetes includes high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
There are basically two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1, previously called insulin dependent or juvenile onset diabetes accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes, previously called non-insulin dependent or adult-onset diabetes accounts for 90-95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly become diagnosed in children and adolescents.
Symptoms of diabetes include tiredness, increased thirst, increased urination, infections and cuts that don’t heal, blurred vision, hunger and weight loss. If you experience one or more of these symptoms or are over 40 years old and have one or more of the risk factors, you may want your doctor to do a simple test to see if you have high blood sugar levels.
Diabetes is managed with diet, exercise and sometimes medication. The major goal in managing diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels as near normal as possible. Daily monitoring of blood sugar levels is an essential part of maintaining near normal levels.
People with diabetes can live long, healthy, happy lives. Following a balanced diet recommended by a doctor or registered dietician, monitoring carbohydrate intake and watching portion sizes are some of the dietary practices that are necessary for managing blood sugar levels. Regular exercise is also an essential part of diabetes management. When medication is prescribed, it is the third piece of the management puzzle.
Early diagnosis and proper treatment of diabetes can help delay the onset and severity of complications associated with diabetes.
To help manage diabetes, you may want to attend the One-Day Diabetes Course being offered by the Howard County Extension Service. The course will be offered Tuesday, April 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The class will provide nutrition education for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes and their families. Participants will learn tips for managing blood glucose, blood cholesterol and blood pressure; learn simple meal planning strategies; carbohydrate counting and nutrition, plus learn how to prepare and sample new recipes. Celeste Scarborough, County Extension Agent-Family Consumer Sciences for Little River County will be the guest speaker. Celeste is also a registered dietician.
The class is being sponsored in part by the Howard County Health Improvement Coalition. There will be no fee for the program.
If you are interested in participating in this program you must pre-register by calling the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517. Please register no later than April 13.
The One-Day Diabetes Course is open to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
Recipe of the Week
Fresh strawberries are starting to show up on the grocery shelves as seasonal fruit. Here is a recipe you can make and enjoy if you are diabetic or preparing food for someone who is diabetic.
FROZEN STRAWBERRY SALAD
8 ounces nonfat cream cheese
5 packets artificial sweetener
1 (10-ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 (10-ounce) package unsweetened strawberries
8 ounces nonfat whipped topping
Place all ingredients except for whipped topping into a blender. Blend for several seconds. Stir whipped topping into blended ingredients. Freeze in a 9-inch square pan.
Yield: 12 servings
Nutrition information per serving: Calories-64, Protein-4g, Carbohydrate-12g, Total Fat-2g