Simple steps to have a healthy National Diabetes Month
The month of November is National Diabetes Month. This month-long observance coincides with World Diabetes Day (November 14) in honor of the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin with Charles Best in 1922. During this month, communities around the country work together to bring awareness to diabetes. This year, the National Institute of Health (NIH) is partnering with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to highlight the connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Adults with diabetes, who do not take preventive measures, are more likely to develop heart disease and suffer a stroke or heart attack. Here are a few simple steps you can start taking today to manage your diabetes and keep your heart healthy.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is terrible for everyone, but smoking while diabetic is particularly dangerous. People with diabetes are already at risk of developing heart disease, throw in smoking on top of that, and you have a lethal combination. Call 1-800-QUITNOW or visit smokefree.gov for help quitting today.
- Keep a healthy lifestyle: It’s not just about starting a healthier lifestyle; it’s about maintaining it. Make an eating plan and stick with it, along with adding physical activity to your daily routine.
- Manage your stress: Stress is a factor for people with diabetes who need to maintain healthy glucose levels. When we get stressed, our fight or flight response kicks in. This response releases hormones that can elevate our glucose levels. Managing stress through activities such as meditation, yoga, exercise, or however you relax, is essential.
- Take your medications: This one is easy but often forgotten. A recent study showed that 1 in 3 people with diabetes missed at least one dose of their diabetes medication every month. Using a pillbox for the week is a low-tech way to help you remember.