November is American Diabetes Month. Diabetes is a chronic health condition that happens when your body can’t correctly process glucose (also known as blood sugar). According to the American Diabetic Association, Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Having it means that your body doesn’t make enough insulin, characterized by high blood sugar, or doesn’t use the insulin your body makes. High levels of sugar build-up in your blood can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease.
What causes diabetes?
There are many factors that can trigger diabetes. Genetics, especially if you’re Black or Latino, and unhealthy life style choices such as smoking, can greatly increase your risk for having diabetes.
Obesity, having a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more, also makes you more likely a candidate to develop diabetes. Obesity causes significant changes in your body functions, namely your inflammatory response and fat metabolism. Abdominal obesity, lack of physical activity and poor nutrition can also put you at a much higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Center of Excellence in Diabetes Prevention and Obesity at Whittier Street Health Center
If you’re struggling with your weight and worried that you may be at risk for diabetes, you can be screened at the Center of Excellence in Diabetes Prevention and Obesity at Whittier Street Health Center. WSHC’s diabetic management clinic offers a range of services for diabetes screening, treatment, and education to reduce symptoms and prevent diabetes complications. Patients are also educated on diabetes prevention, risk factors, monitoring and treatment at home and diabetic diet management.
“Eating healthy is an important part of managing diabetes, and combined with regular exercise and a healthy weight, can prevent complications. I help patients to include more healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread, brown rice, fruits, and low-fat dairy, and find strategies to control their blood sugars that work with their schedule.” Said Anna Bondy, MPH, RD, LDN, Whittier Street Health Center.
The main goals for our diabetes group is for our patients to:
- Attain individualized glycemic, blood pressure, and lipid goals
- Delay or prevent the complications of diabetes
- Maintain the pleasure of eating, by providing positive messages about healthy food choices, and portion control. We provide patients with practical tools for day-to-day meal planning rather than focusing on individual nutrients.
- Attain modest weight loss which can be achieved through lifestyle interventions, such as nutrition, physical activity, and behavior change with ongoing support.
If your body is in the prediabetes stage, it’s not too late to reverse the effects. With a healthy diet and proper exercise and food coaching, you can lower your risk for diabetes. Contact the nutrition specialists at Whittier Street Community Health Center to help. Ask your primary care doctor if to see if our team may be of help to you.
Anna Bondy, MPH, RD, LDN is a registered dietician and diabetes educator WSHC’s Weight Management and Wellness Clinic.