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Understanding diabetes during National Diabetes Month

Diet and lifestyle changes, like increased movement and portion control, can help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. Sponsored by Overlake Medical Center.

SEATTLE — More than 37 million Americans live with diabetes. November is National Diabetes Month, and it’s an ideal time to learn the warning signs and how to manage the condition.

“Understanding diabetes is important because you need to understand what you need to do in order to most effectively manage it,” said Lisa Levinson, Diabetes Nurse Educator, Overlake Medical Center and Clinics.

Fully understanding diabetes can lead to greater outcomes, including for those with pre-diabetes. Thirty-eight percent of Americans 18 and older are pre-diabetic. 

“If you’re falling in that pre-diabetes category, there’s a lot you can do to kind of turn that tide and reverse course and make sure you don’t progress to having diabetes,” Levinson said. 

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body has high sugar levels for prolonged periods of time. With type 1 diabetes, your body does not produce insulin, which is needed to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin properly. 

Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires consistent treatment to help control blood sugar levels. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to long-term complications, including blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage.

“There’s a lot of things that can happen, but there’s no reason for any of it to happen,” Levinson said. “There’s a lot we can do right now to most actively manage it.”

Signs and symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, frequent thirst and hunger, fatigue, and injuries that are slow to heal. The A1C blood test screens for diabetes and gives you a picture of your average blood sugar level over the past two to three months.

Type 2 diabetes can be managed by diet and lifestyle changes, including increasing daily activity and movement and making sure you’re eating portion-controlled, balanced meals. 

“It’s a team,” Levinson said. “With diabetes, it’s continuous monitoring and assessment of what you’re doing day to day to really empower the individual to know what they need to do day to day to manage their diabetes.”

To learn more about diabetes care, visit the Overlake Medical Center website.

Sponsored by Overlake Medical Center. Segment Producer Joseph Suttner. Watch New Day Northwest 11 a.m. weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.


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