The holidays are never a good time for people with diabetes. Sugar-filled dishes and desserts are surrounding us, and sometimes it's a little hard to steer clear of them. Last Saturday, November 14, was National Diabetes Day, pairing with the fact that November is Diabetes Awareness Month. In a statement from the DePaul Community Health Centers (DCHC), an RN named Sylvia Denson sought to remind the community that the number of people who are living with diabetes or have been deemed as pre-diabetic has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only are those living with diabetes more likely to contract the novel coronavirus, but they are also more likely to have poorer outcomes from the virus. "The coronavirus pandemic has greatly exposed the disparities we face in diabetes care," remarked Denson. "Diabetes can be prevented and controlled with small changes, when we have knowledge about the disease and support from healthcare providers and family members."
When getting support from your family, especially around the holidays, make sure to make your own side dishes or ask for more options that are diabetic-friendly. Mashed cauliflower, lentil dishes, and even some desserts can be made with little to no sugar, to ensure that you stay healthy and enjoy your dinner as well.
The DCHC is offering self-management classes and prevention programs for people who are diagnosed pre-diabetic or are at greater risk for developing diabetes. Sylvia offered the following tips for people to increase awareness about their own healthy habits and diabetes:
- Ask your doctor to screen you for diabetes. This might seem obvious, but it is always good to know your situation before something bad happens.
- If you get a diagnosis back for being pre-diabetic or you are high-risk for developing diabetes, think about joining a diabetes prevention class or program.
- Work yourself up to working out daily, even if it is just walking!
- Staying hydrated is just as important as eating healthy, so be sure to drink as much water as you need throughout the day.
- Eat more vegetables! Sylvia recommends that you increase the intake of non-starchy vegetables by three to 4 servings per day.
- Get mental help when you need it. It is harder to manage your healthy habits when you're suffering from depression and stress.
- Educate yourself on how to manage diabetes if you or someone in your family is diagnosed and share that knowledge with the rest of your family.
For more information about DCHC, please visit their website here.