As November arrives, we look forward to Thanksgiving and being with family. However, we should not forget that November is also American Diabetes Month. It affects 26 million people in America, while another 79 million are at risk. These numbers are staggering. Most of us have a relative or know someone that suffers from this disease. So what exactly can we do about this epidemic?
The Stop Diabetes website offers different ways on how you can become involved. Donating money or joining local American Diabetes Month meetings are great options to help raise awareness. Also, local offices can put together special events to help raise money to support research and education. Don’t forget to ask your local hospital or assisted living center if you can volunteer by providing elder care.
Two important factors in the fight against diabetes are diet and exercise. By educating those who have the disease, you can help take a critical step in the right direction. It’s common knowledge that diets low in carbohydrates and processed sugars can help maintain insulin levels. However, research has found that vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based diets are effective in regulating diabetic symptoms. You must explain that exercise is as necessary as a proper diet. When you exercise regularly it increases muscle, lowers body fat, and increases the body’s receptiveness and utilization of insulin. Also, being active decreases blood pressure and the potential for heart disease. Caregivers who deal with senior care are better off teaching the elderly about nutrition since physical activity declines in old age. That is not to say that seniors can’t exercise.
Nearly a quarter of the population over 60 has been diagnosed with diabetes. Heart disease and stroke are prevalent risks of diabetes that increase with age. Seniors are often forgotten about because there is a notion that elder care can be difficult. When offering senior care, volunteers must be aware that the elderly are also susceptible to cognitive degeneration. Caregivers who help seniors in assisted living situations are truly special people.
While the numbers of diabetics are enormous and only seem to be growing, through raising awareness, maintenance and education they will diminish with time. If those who suffer from diabetes can be educated about nutrition and exercise, then their health can be maintained. By raising awareness and educating the 79 million who are at risk, there will be no need for them be diagnosed with this unnecessary disease.