Diabetes Alert Day was observed around the world on Tuesday March 28th. At the Will County Health Department Community Health Center, it was a chance for the public to have their blood glucose level checked and also learn some very important information.
Joann Poli from Jewel-Osco, along with intern Dawid Bula from Roosvelt University, were able to let people know if they may be diabetic or what they can do to try to prevent it. In addition, Community Health Center patients who are already dealing with diabetes were able to stop by and ask questions.
One point they made strongly is that once diagnosed with diabetes, you cannot simply rely on taking your prescriptions. Patients needs to take other initiatives as well. "These days we have seven to nine different classes of drugs to battle diabetes," Bula explained. "Some might target your intake of sugar, some might help your body get rid of it. But those tools only go so far. It really comes down to your daily lifestyle."
And not surprisingly, a major part of that lifestyle that always comes up is how we eat. Both Bula and Poli pointed out that all foods have carbohydrates, which break down into glucose in our bodies. Therefore, battling diabetes is much more than just avoiding regular sugar and eating whole wheat bread.
"Serving size is very important," Poli reminded us. "Fruits and vegetables and wonderful, but some fruits, like grapes, have a high sugar content. So you should never eat more at one time than the amount that can fit in the palm of your hand." She also pointed out that berries of any kind are very ideal for diabetics to eat. "Blueberries are good because they are high in fiber. That goes for blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries as well."
And beyond fruit, there is the importance of eating vegetables. "They are higher in fiber, and therefore have less carbohydrates that will break down into glucose," Poli explained."
Bula brought up a common visualization that doctors use. "Imagine a nine inch dinner plate. It is recommended that half of your plate be occupied by vegetables. And, you should never overeat. Only put on your plate what you plan to eat." Bula also mentioned that this is something everyone should do. "This is not just for diabetics, this is common sense information that everyone should do for their health."
And of course, exercise is important for treating diabetes and avoiding it as well. It goes without saying that daily exercise is another thing that should be done by everyone. More information can be found at the American Diabetes Association website, www.diabetes.org.