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Live a Healthy Lifestyle!

Having Diabetes can be tough, but there are lots of things you can do to make managing the disease easier. By living a healthy lifestyle and getting all of the recommended screenings and tests, you can reduce the possibility of complications from Diabetes.

  • Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet
  • Stay active
  • Loose excess body fat
  • Good oral hygiene
  • Take appropriate medications
  • Take a Prevent Diabetes class at Hamakua-Kohala Health, call Jen at 775-7204 to schedule

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin or the body does not use it properly, thus allowing blood sugar, or glucose, to enter cells. Excess glucose builds up in the blood and causes damage throughout the body. Cells starve during the buildup of glucose in the blood, leading to symptoms of Diabetes.

What are the two main types of Diabetes?

  • Type 1 – Usually develops during childhood and is predominately genetic. The immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Insulin shots are needed to survive.
  • Type 2 – The most common form of Diabetes, accounting for 90 percent to 95 percent of Diabetes cases. It results when the pancreas produces too little insulin or the cells do not adequately absorb it.

How serious is Diabetes?

Diabetes has no cure. It is a progressive disease that can lead to chronic medical conditions that lessen quality of life and can lead to death, including:

  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Blindness
  • Foot infections and nerve damage that can lead to amputations

Who’s at risk for developing Diabetes? Risk factors for Diabetes include:

  • Having a family history of Diabetes
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being over 45 years old
  • Being Asian American, Native Hawaiian or a Pacific Islander

What should you do if you have Diabetes?

  • See your doctor regularly, call for an appointment today
  • Check your blood glucose (blood sugar), regularly
  • Receive A1C tests at least twice a year to measure your average glucose in your blood over a three-month period
  • Maintain healthy blood pressure
  • Check your LDL cholesterol yearly or more
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Practice good oral hygiene and see a dentist regularly
  • Don’t smoke
  • Examine your feet regularly
  • Get annual eye exams

By taking control of Diabetes, you’ll help ensure that it doesn’t control you.

You can help keep your A1C level low by:

  • Glucose Meter – Blood sugar, or glucose, is an essential measure of your health. One of the best ways to keep your blood sugar under control is routine testing with a glucose meter. Talk to your doctor about which meter is best for you and how to accurately measure your blood sugar.
  • A1C Test – Having your A1C tested regularly and keeping it at a healthy level is essential to Diabetes care. Another important measure of your blood sugar control is an A1C test, which is performed by a health care provider. An A1C test measures your average blood glucose level over the last two to three months, and should be performed at least twice a year. For most people, an A1C level of less than 7 percent is considered good control. Having an A1C of more than 7 percent greatly increases your risk of developing kidney, heart, eye, periodontal, and nerve disease.

Blood Pressure

People with Diabetes are also two to three times more likely to develop heart and kidney disease. Since the cardiovascular risks are so great, it’s important to keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg. You can help keep your heart healthy by understanding your blood pressure numbers and goals, testing it regularly and taking hypertension medication if necessary. Eating a diet low in sodium and maintaining a healthy weight will also help lower your blood pressure.

For many people with Diabetes, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) can help control your blood pressure and prevent or slow the progression of Diabetes and kidney disease. These oral medications open the blood vessels and reduce fluid retention — two main factors in hypertension. Talk to your doctor about which medications are right for you.

Schedule an Annual Eye Exam

Since Diabetes can affect your vision, it’s also important to have an annual eye exam. Diabetic retinopathy, or damage to blood vessels in the retina, is the leading cause of blindness in American adults. Adults with Diabetes are also nearly twice as likely to get glaucoma. Timely treatment and follow-up care can help reduce the risk of blindness by nearly 95 percent, according to the National Eye Institute. Despite these benefits, many people with Diabetes do not receive a dilated retinal exam as often as needed. Your doctor can refer you to an eye care specialist or you may contact an eye doctor directly to schedule your next dilated retinal exam.

Oral Health

Oral health and the control of Diabetes are also related. Studies have indicated that people with Diabetes can control their blood sugar better if they have good oral health. Specifically, the improvement of a patient’s periodontal, or gum, condition may lead to better Diabetes control. Additionally, better control of Diabetes can lead to a decrease in oral inflammation and periodontal disease.

Living with Diabetes can be tough, but by staying on top of screenings and tests, keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level, taking necessary medications, and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, you can help limit its harmful effects.


MOST HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS COVER LIFESAVING PREVENTATIVE TESTS. USE THE HEALTH BENEFITS YOU ARE ALREADY PAYING FOR TO GET SCREENED! As a community-based health center, Hamakua-Kohala Health provides comprehensive primary and preventative healthcare to persons of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status.

Make an appointment today at one of our clinics


11 Foods to Leave out of Your Diabetes Diet

Things like fried fish, candy, and too much alcohol are poor choices for anyone, but diabetics have a longer list of foods to avoid than the average person – and some of those foods may not be so obvious. Schedule an appointment to discuss your diet with your medical provider today!

In order to sidestep serious complications, people with insulin resistance and blood sugar problems need to craft a menu with the right amount of carbohydrates, the right type of carbohydrates, and a careful balance of the other nutrients necessary for good health. Straying too far from your diabetic diet plan can burden you with more than a few unwanted pounds, so be sure to keep these foods far away from your kitchen table.

The glycemic index is a scale from 0 to 100 that measures the rate that sugars are released into the bloodstream from carbohydrate foods. A rating low on this scale between 0 and 55 correlates to a food that is not a problem to diabetics. When these low glycemic index foods are eaten, blood sugar stays low in diabetics. Examples include cherries, apples, lettuce, celery, beans and chickpeas.

On the other hand, foods high on the glycemic index that are rated 70 to 100+ are ones that cause an exceptionally high burst of insulin after the blood sugar levels skyrocket. This reaction will eventually wear out the pancreas and may even cause the need for insulin at a later date.

Crafting a healthy menu can be easier said than done. Start by eliminating these big offenders, but don’t limit your choices too much. Variety is the key to enjoying your healthier diet – try fresh seasonal dishes, new cuisines, and different styles of preparation to keeps things interesting while you stay on track.

1. Flavored Water

With more calories and sugars than some juices or sodas, it’s about as far away from pure and healthy water as you can get. Even though the label might advertise a relatively low amount of carbs and calories, keep in mind that the values are for one serving, and there are typically at least two servings in a bottle. Sports drinks are off-limits for the same reasons, as are most other energy drinks. Luckily, you can spruce up plain old water with fruits and herbs that add fresh and interesting flavor without the huge portion of carbohydrates.

2. Juice

Juice technically comes from fruit, but it leaves behind the best parts of the produce. Essentially, juice is the sugar and water from the fruit without any of the fiber, and fiber is the component that slows calorie absorption and blunts the effect of carbohydrates. So, even if it’s 100% natural with no added sugar, fruit juice is a recipe for a big spike in blood sugar, and should really only be used to quickly bring glucose levels up in cases of hypoglycemia. Stick with a glass of water with a piece of juicy, high-fiber fruit on the side.

3. Dried Fruit

Although it is still fruit, your body cannot handle dried fruit nearly as well as fresh fruit. The reason is the concentration of sugars: when fruit is dehydrated, all the water is drained and the relative sugar content shoots sky-high. Although they have some vitamins and minerals, dried cherries, blueberries, currants and raisins are essentially candy, a sugar delivery system that sends your blood sugar soaring out of control. Beware of snacks like trail mix, which may seem like a healthy alternative to salted nuts or potato chips on the surface, but could be a calorie-packed sugar-fest on further inspection.

4. Sweet Condiments

Ketchup, relish, even mayonnaise may seem like savory additions to hearty meals, but they’re actually packed with sugar – corn syrup, cane juice or fructose is often the second or third ingredient on the label. Just like soda and candy, this sugar will elevate your blood glucose, but because these condiments often have a good deal of salt as well, you may not realize just how significantly they impact your metabolism. Sauces of all sorts are also usually high in calories, so it’s best to give them a pass; lemon juice, grainy mustard, or plain Greek yogurt are healthy, low-sugar and low-fat substitutes.

5. Energy Bars

In most cases, energy bars are simply candy bars with better marketing. The sugar count and carbohydrate haul is typically through the roof – a glycemic load upwards of 49, which is well above a healthy allowance. Granola bars and breakfast granola raise the same concerns, with far too much refined flour and sugar to be considered a “healthy” snack. The lesson here is to watch out for clever marketing ploys – buzzwords like “healthy,” “natural,” and “organic” – and look deeper into the ingredient list before purchasing any processed food.

6. White Rice

All refined grains bring too many simple carbohydrates to the table, but white rice is particularly bad for diabetics. The problem is that all the fibrous husk has been removed, leaving just the starch, and starch has a major effect on blood sugar.

Jasmine rice and diabetes should not be combined. Brown rice is a good substitute, or better yet, opt for wild rice: lower in sugar and calories, wild rice (which is actually a seed from marsh grass) is packed with an array of wholesome nutrients and minerals without the starch. Jasmine rice has a glycemic index higher than 100.

7. Artificial Sweeteners

They might not be sugar, but that doesn’t mean artificial sweeteners don’t carry some similar risks. Research shows that sugar substitutes like aspartame, sucralose and saccharin are worse for diabetics than they may seem: there may be fewer calories in a serving, but they’ll slow down your metabolism and encourage your body to store fat, leading to a greater diabetes risk and setting the stage for complications. Even though too much sugar can be dangerous, if you need to have something sweet, it’s best to have natural sugars in moderate amounts – your body can process them much better than artificial sweeteners.

8. Pasta

White pasta is at the top of the list of offenders when it comes to blood glucose, since it’s so high in starch and so easily digested. Not only does the huge helping of simple carbohydrates interrupt your metabolism, it also tends to move quickly through your digestive system, which leaves you feeling hungry and ready for more before you know it. Whole wheat pasta or brown rice pasta is better since the fiber ensures a steadier rise in blood sugar than the refined varieties, but you should still be careful about your serving size. Limit yourself to a half cup of cooked pasta at any meal, and top it with plenty of fresh veggies and a handful of nuts to round out the dish.

9. Coffee Drinks

Caffeine isn’t necessarily bad for your diabetes management, but how you take it in could be sabotaging your efforts. Fancy coffee drinks are tempting, with their whipped cream and flavor shots, but many have far too many calories and carbs – a medium sized coffee drink with cream and chocolate can have more than 400 calories and 15 grams of fat! It’s alright to have a comforting full-fat cappuccino or hot chocolate on occasion, but try to stick to coffee with a dash of 2% milk or else switch to herbal tea with a drizzle of honey. It may be challenging at first, but after a week or two of trimmed-down beverages, you’ll likely lose the taste for super-sweet drinks.

10. Cured or Processed Meat

Protein is an important part of any diet, but poor quality proteins can complicate your diabetes management. For instance, bacon, cold cuts, and store-bought burgers, meatballs or chicken strips are packed with sodium and fat – two major players in heart disease. Diabetics are already at a higher risk for cardiovascular problems, so it’s important to limit your salt intake and stick to lean proteins. In addition to skipping the deli counter, try going vegetarian a couple of days each week, swapping meat for chickpeas, eggs, or tofu: you’ll get a big boost of important minerals and save on fat and calories.

11. Fried Foods, Trans Fat Foods and Vegetable Oils

The problem with many types of fat is that their chemical structures aren’t stable when heated. The type of fat they have is called unsaturated, and the more unsaturated bonds these fats have (polyunsaturated fats are the worst), the more damage they do to the body.

The damage occurs via an excess amount of free radicals that then age the body rapidly. Diabetes is known to increase the aging in the body, and by adding fried foods, trans fat foods, and vegetable oils, you will speed up aging even faster.

The types of vegetable oils that are the worst are the standard American ‘vegetable oil’, corn oil, soy oil, and any seed oil (canola, pumpkin, walnut, almond, etc.). If you want to stay healthy, eat a handful of nuts rather than use the oils in cooking.

Use more stable oils such as butter, coconut oil and palm oil. Olive oil is monounsaturated and produces fewer free radicals than polyunsaturated oils.


MOST HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS COVER LIFESAVING PREVENTATIVE TESTS. USE THE HEALTH BENEFITS YOU ARE ALREADY PAYING FOR TO GET SCREENED! As a community-based health center, Hamakua-Kohala Health provides comprehensive primary and preventative healthcare to persons of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status.

Make an appointment today at one of our clinics

Source: DiabeticLivingtoday


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