Native News Network Staff in Native Health. Discussion »
BETHESDA, MARYLAND - November is American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Additionally, November is National Diabetes Month.
American Indians and Alaska Native are 2.2 times more likely to have diabetes compared to non-Hispanic whites. The death rate due to diabetes among American Indians and Alaska Natives is three times higher compared with the general US population. American Indians and Alaska Natives are three to four times higher at risk for developing cardiovascular disease with diabetes than Natives without diabetes.
With November being National Diabetes Month, it is an opportune time for Native people, tribes and communities to shine a spotlight on diabetes, including making a plan to manage and prevent the disease and its complications.
During National Diabetes Month, health experts emphasize the importance of setting goals and making a plan to prevent type 2 diabetes and diabetes-related complications.
People with diabetes can't take a vacation from diabetes. They need to make decisions to manage their diabetes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To manage diabetes, people with diabetes have to think about making healthy food choices, staying at a healthy weight, being active, working to keep blood glucose (or blood sugar), cholesterol, and blood pressure levels under control, and taking medicine the way the doctor tells you.
When you are trying to make lifestyle changes, it's common to feel overwhelmed, sad, or angry - especially if you are living with a lifelong disease such as diabetes. Even if you know what to do to improve your health, figuring out how to do it and fitting it into your daily routine can be a big challenge.
Start by setting one goal to work on first. Decide on a goal that is important to you, and is something that you are willing and able to do.
For example, if you know that you work late, it might not be a realistic goal to say that you're going to go for a walk or run after work. Instead, you might try getting out for a walk or run in the morning, or using some time during your lunch break to fit this in your schedule.
Pick one step to try this week. And once you make that first step, take another step the next week, and then another until you have reached your goal.
Nearly 26 million Americans currently living with the disease and another 7 million who don't know they have it. Approximately 79 million adults have pre-diabetes. This is a condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Editor's Note: Information and material contained in this article is from the National Institutes of Health.
posted November 7, 2011 6:00 am est
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