LiveSmart: Reduce Your Risk for Diabetes, Enjoy Better Health

[This article was written by Lynn Sutton, RD, CDN, CDCES, Supervisor/Program Coordinator, St. Peter’s Diabetes & Endocrine Care, Diabetes Education Program.]

The most current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) national diabetes statistics state that more than 37 million people in the United States have diabetes. That’s 1 in 10 Americans and, of those, 1 in 5 do not know they have the disease.

Diabetes with hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) activates inflammatory pathways leading to dysfunction and weakness of the immune system. In turn, inflammation diminishes the way our natural antibodies fight infection.

Many individuals with diabetes have other health complications such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases and renal (kidney function) changes. These co-morbidities lead to increased stress, which increases blood glucose, chronic inflammation and further decreases immune function.

Obesity is also linked to high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, pain, limited mobility and sleep apnea. Limited mobility and pain increases stress, blood glucose and inflammation. With sleep apnea, the resulting compromised lung function leads to abnormal respiratory ventilation, greater respiratory symptoms and the potential for respiratory failure.

Reduce Your Risk

To improve your management of diabetes, you should:

  • Keep all your medical health appointments.
  • Take all your medications as prescribed.
  • Work with your healthcare team to maintain a blood glucose level that is safest for you.
  • Improve your diet by increasing fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Avoid processed foods, fast foods, juices and sugar sweetened beverages.
  • Lose weight. A modest weight loss of 7 to 10 percent of your body weight will make a big difference. It lowers blood glucose, blood pressure and increases respiratory strength.
  • Increase activity; even walking ten minutes after meals will help with blood glucose management and increase respiratory strength.

It may seems like a lot but, by taking it one step at a time, you can make small, healthy changes that you can maintain for life. Individuals with diabetes who work to maintain their blood sugars within healthy parameters reduce the risk of long-term damage to their eyes, heart, kidneys and feet. St. Peter’s Diabetes & Endocrine Care is here to help you on your journey to take control of your health.

At St. Peter’s Diabetes and Endocrine Care, our multi-disciplinary team of endocrinologists, advanced practitioners and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists are dedicated to helping individuals with diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic disorders improve their quality of life.

Our specialized services include complication screenings; prevention and treatment; medication management; foot care; onsite HbA1c testing; nutritional counseling; support groups; and individual and group education classes, including our free, virtual “Prevent T2” diabetes prevention program. For information, call 518-471-3636.

Physical Activity and Diabetes

FREE, virtual education session

Tuesday, June 21
Noon to 12:30 p.m.

Hosted by Ilse de Veer, MS, RD, CDCES, this virtual program will examine the link between physical activity and successfully managing diabetes. It is free and open to those with diabetes and their loved ones.

To register, visit

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