2007-11-21 / Health

November is National Diabetes Month

ATLANTA (GA) - November is National Diabetes Month. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death, and it affects millions of Americans of all ages. There isn't a cure yet, but it can be managed by individuals taking an active role in their own health. Nationally, there are 20.8 million children and adults with diabetes. The disease affects 10.3 million aged 60 or older, or 20.9 percent of all people in this age group, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Diabetes Fact Sheet. The Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services (DAS) is offering tips to help older adults manage their diabetes.

"We encourage older adults to take charge of their health by managing their diabetes with meal planning, regular physical activity and weight control so they can achieve safe, healthy, independent and self-reliant lives," said Maria Greene, Director of DAS.

DAS is encouraging seniors to eat a well balanced diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and whole-wheat breads, reduce their fat intake, limit alcohol consumption, and never skip a meal because this may cause blood sugar levels to drop. They should also schedule regular doctor's visits, eye exams and dental appointments, get regular flu shots in winter, and stay physically active. They should check their feet for sores or irritations and choose shoes that fit well and are comfortable to walk in. And if they smoke, they should consult their doctors for a plan to help them quit.

Diabetes causes the body not to produce or properly use insulin, which is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar or glucose. There are two categories of diabetes- type 1, which is found mostly in children, and type 2, which is usually associated with obesity and occurs mostly in adults.

To learn more about diabetes and other chronic disease management, vis- it the Live Well Age Well website at http://www. livewellagewell.info or call DAS and the Aging Network toll-free at 1-866-55-Aging (1-866-552-4464). You may also visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/ and the American Diabetes Association website at www.diabetes.org.

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