2016 World Health Day focuses on diabetes prevention

| April 21, 2016 | 0 Comments
According to WHO, more than 422 million adults worldwide live with diabetes ¬ a 26 percent increase since 1980 but the condition can be monitored. (Courtesy photo)

According to WHO, more than 422 million adults worldwide live with diabetes ¬ a 26 percent increase since 1980 but the condition can be monitored. (Courtesy photo)   

Gloria Montgomery
Army News Service

This year, the World Health Organization, or WHO, dedicated its annual World Health Day (April 7) to diabetes, to celebrate the organization’s 1948 founding.
According to WHO, more than 422 million adults worldwide live with diabetes ¬ a 26 percent increase since 1980.

In 2014, more than one in three adults were overweight and more than one out of every 10 obese.

Diabetes increases the risk for heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputations.

“The primary recommendation for pre-diabetes, per the National Institutes of Health (NIA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA), is to institute lifestyle modifications to prevent diabetes,” said Barbara Hughart, dietitian at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.

“Eating healthy and being physically active are key to reducing risk factors associated with diabetes,” she said, suggesting people diagnosed with pre-diabetes exercise 10 minutes before or after a meal.

Defining diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease and results in elevated blood glucose levels, which occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar or when the body can’t effectively use the insulin it produces.

Although the cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, Type 2 diabetes is the result of excess body weight and the lack of physical exercise.

Normal fasting glucose values are 70-99 with pre-diabetes values greater than 100 but less than 126.
“Diabetes is diagnosed per VA/DOD guidelines with a fasting glucose equal to or greater than 126 on two occasions or a hemoglobin A1C count equal to or greater than 7 percent,” said Hughart.

To help people who have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, Hughart suggested TRICARE beneficiaries to seek out a Diabetes Nutrition Class. The local Nutrition Clinic can also assist patients with pre-diabetes who have exercise medical limits.

“If lifestyle modifications are not effective to prevent sustained increases in glucose, then medical providers may initiate drug therapy to help prevent progression,” she added. “The important thing is to just move more and reduce total portions to promote a modest weight loss of body fat. The recommended goal is to lose equal to or greater than five percent of your current weight if the body mass index is greater than 25.”

Nutrition tips
Hughart also offered the following tips for diabetes nutrition:

1. Eat healthy. A healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and saturated fats can help prevent Type 2 diabetes, and also help people to manage Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes if they have it.
Encourage a regular meal pattern:
• At least three meals per day.
• If snacks are needed, space at least two hours from meals.
• Eating no carbohydrates has to be avoided. Avoid statements such as “avoid all carbs” or “don’t eat anything white.” Remember, cauliflower is a healthy food, but it’s white.
• Encourage less added sugars in the diet.
• Sweet, dessert-type carbohydrates are allowed, but should be used less often.

2. Be active. At least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days can help prevent Type 2 diabetes and its complications, as well as help people to better manage Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes if they have it.

3. If in doubt, check. Symptoms for diabetes include thirst, hunger, weight loss, fatigue and blurred vision. However, many people who have diabetes do not have symptoms. If people think they might have the disease, consulting a health care professional is recommended.

4. Follow medical advice. A range of treatments exists to manage diabetes and control blood glucose, including eating healthy, being active, taking prescribed medication, controlling blood pressure and avoiding tobacco use.
People with diabetes can live well if they follow a treatment plan developed together with their health care provider.
(Editor’s note: Montgomery works with Army Medicine.)
TAMC Point of Contact
For information on Tripler Army Medical Center diabetes support, contact the Diabetes and Endocrine Clinic Front Desk at 433–6933.

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