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Health Check: November is Diabetes Month

Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is caused when your body does not use insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas, well. There is no cure for Type 2 diabetes, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help manage it.

Know Your ABCs

A1C: A blood test ordered by your doctor that measures your average sugar levels over a three-month period. The goal is to keep your A1C level below seven percent.

Blood Pressure: Measures the force of blood flow inside your blood vessels. The goal is to keep your blood pressure as close to 120 systolic over 80 diastolic (120/80). New blood pressure guidelines are:

Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg.
Elevated: Systolic between 120 to 129 and diastolic less than 80.
Stage 1: Systolic between 130 to 139 or diastolic between 80 to 89.
Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg.

Cholesterol: There are two kinds of cholesterol in your body. HDL (good cholesterol) which helps removes the bad cholesterol from your blood vessels. LDL (bad cholesterol) can build up and clog your blood vessels. Large amounts of LDL can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. The goal is to keep your total cholesterol number below 200 and to keep your LDL as low as possible.

Work with your doctor to help manage your LDL as low as possible. Remember it’s your health! 

Eating Healthy 

  • Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fats, carbohydrates, sugars, and salt (sodium).
  • Eat at least three meals a day and two healthy snacks such as nuts and fruits.
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables for lunch and dinner.
  • Drink water instead of juice or soda. Try flavored sparkling water (zero calories) if you don’t like the taste of plain water.
  • Avoid eating after 8 p.m.
  • Cut down on alcohol and consumption, particularly as drinking alcohol makes you want to eat more.

Be Active

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week (30 minutes a day at least five days a week) of aerobic exercises (i.e. walking, yoga, swimming, dancing or household chores like raking leaves).

Set goals to being more active. Start small and increase your time. A little bit of something goes a long way.

Editor’s Note: Tiana Turner, MPH, CHES is an educator for Montefiore Health System’s Office of Community & Population Health.

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