U.P. Diabetes Outreach Network promotes program about chronic condition management

North Central UP

MARQUETTE, Mich., (WJMN) – November is diabetes awareness month, Ann Constance director of U.P. Diabetes Outreach Network shared information about detection, prevention and resources.

UPDON connects people in the Upper Peninsula with resources on how to manage their diabetes. Constance says the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan is offering a free program for adults over 50 that teaches chronic condition management skills.

“You know some of the things you should be doing or you want to change but you just don’t have the motivation so come together with a group of people that have similar health issues and work on those health issues together,” said Constance. “Very easy program to use, if you can shop online, if you can use Facebook, you can use Better Choices, Better Health.”

In people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. According to Constance, there is no cure, and people with this type need insulin to manage it. She says treatment for type 2 diabetes is similar and management is important.

“You’ve got to take medication oftentimes some with type 2 also take insulin and then there’s multiple tests and exams that are recommended each year to make sure you catch any problems early and stay healthy,” said Constance.

Constance says type 2 diabetes is largely preventable but knowing your family and health history is important to prevent it. She says you can take a quiz online to assess your risk for prediabetes.

“Even the early stages of type 2 diabetes there really aren’t many symptoms, you know, I’ve seen things like maybe people are a little more tired, some may have skin rashes that don’t heal usually further progression you are urinating a lot, you’re thirsty, but that’s oftentimes when you’ve had diabetes for a few years,” said Constance. “7 to 10 years someone can live with type 2 diabetes not really even knowing there’s a problem.”

Exercise, eating healthy foods and not smoking are three steps to preventing or slowing the onset of type 2 diabetes according to Constance. She says having prediabetes does not mean you will get diabetes.

“We’ve had studies done across the world that show us the same things, the activity level is about 150 minutes per week so 20 minutes a day and it doesn’t even have to be at one time,” said Constance. “10 minutes in the morning 10 minutes in the afternoon, just getting up and moving a little bit more can really help someone prevent going from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.”

Diabetes does not only require consistent management and monitoring, but Constance says it can also cause or increase the risk of other complications.

“Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, blindness and lower leg amputations all of those can perhaps be prevented or delayed through good glucose control, good blood pressure control, controlling the lipids and being a nonsmoker,” said Constance. “Those are really four really important things. Also people with diabetes, if you’re not well controlled you’re at a much higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.”

Constance says there is no one right diet for preventing diabetes or living with diabetes, she recommends seeing a registered dietitian and primary care providers for help finding the right plan. U.P. Diabetes Outreach Network partners with UPCAP and there are many available resources on the UPCAP website or at diabetesinmichigan.org.

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