November is Diabetes Awareness Month

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, be thankful that you can prevent or lessen the complications of diabetes.

There are many things to be thankful for in November; the start of the holiday season, the opportunity to meet with friends and family, the delicious holiday foods. As you prepare for this festive time of the year, take a few minutes out to review your health and potential health problems. Being aware of any health conditions you might be at risk of developing will better prepare you for the higher calorie and fat holiday food temptations and the stress of the holiday season.

If you don’t currently have diabetes, take the American Diabetes Association risk test. In a few minutes you will know if you are at risk. If you score high on this assessment, contact your local health care provider for an appointment to discuss your results and what tests your health care provider may want you to take. You might not be able to schedule an appointment soon, so plan to make this a priority for the new year.

If you currently have diabetes, brush up on your knowledge of the complications that result from uncontrolled high blood glucose. These include:

  • Retinopathy—damage to the retina of the eye that could result in blindness
  • Neuropathy—damage to nerves especially in the feet leading to numbness. This lack of feeling might cause minor cuts to develop into severe infections.
  • Kidney damage
  • Heart disease and stroke

Holidays are great times to celebrate and these celebrations are usually centered on food. There are many sources of diabetes friendly recipes and menus you can use to prepare healthier versions of your favorite foods. The American Diabetes Association publishes healthy recipes in their monthly magazine which you can access online or at your local library. There are also other magazines and online sites to check out. When online stick with sites that end in .org or .edu. These are more reliable than the .com sites.

Take time in November to find out if you’re at risk for diabetes. Take time in November to make this your healthiest holiday season yet. For more information about healthy lifestyles, contact your local Michigan State University Extension office.

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