DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) There are two types of diabetes. Type 1, where the pancreas stops producing insulin, and Type 2, where the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or is insulin resistant. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas.
"Insulin is the key that fits all of our cells and that allows the sugar to go in so we burn that sugar as energy,” said Sheila Starling, a SAMC RN and Certified Diabetes Educator. “We do two things with sugar, we either burn it as energy or we store it as fat. Diabetes is not caused by generally eating a lot of sugar, so we do need a balanced diet of carbohydrates." Starling added, "our fruits, our milk, some of our vegetables have carbohydrates."
The American Diabetes Association recommends having a healthy weight. They say to have 3 balanced meals a day and a healthy bed time snack.
Heart health and exercise are also important when dealing with diabetes. Starling recommends exercising 30 minutes a day 5 days a week.
"With diabetes heart disease and stroke go hand in hand," mentioned Starling. “Because of our obesity problem and lack of exercise."
Patients must take insulin accordingly, through shots, pills, or a pump. They are also responsible for monitoring their glucose, or blood sugar levels; keeping it in a target range of 80 to 130. They can do so with an at home kit.
Without the proper care, diabetes can lead to death or other ailments.
"Failure of your kidney’s, you can have sores that do not heal properly, cause an amputation," explained Sharon Andrews, an active diabetes patient. “My advice to you is to listen to your doctor, and follow the instructions that they give you. And listen to whatever instructions the nutritionist tells you. If you follow that, you'll be okay."
Education is key when trying to control your diabetes. Look for early warning signs - if you're always tired, are constantly thirsty or have a cut that's not healing.
SAMC offers diabetes classes for further learning and meal prepping. For more information or to book an appointment, call 334 - 793 – 8854.