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How to Manage Diabetes

April 9, 2021

Did you know 26.9 million people in the United States were diagnosed with diabetes in 2020? Type 2 Diabetes has become a National Health problem in this country.  The problem has gradually become worse over the years due to poor lifestyle habits and the growing problem of obesity.

Type 2 Diabetes can be well controlled if a person knows the proper health and eating information.  It usually starts as pre-diabetes and then progresses to type 2 diabetes when preventative measures are not taken.  Some classic symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, increased urination, fatigue or tiredness, unwanted weight loss, and blurry vision.  If caught early a person may be able to control the problem with diet control only, and possibly even reverse the problem.  If the condition worsens, medications will be needed and a healthy balanced diet plan will still need to be followed. If your doctor says you have diabetes or pre-diabetes you should ask to be referred to a dietitian as soon as possible to determine a specific diet plan for you.  Most insurance companies and Medicare will pay for this.  It’s much easier to make dietary changes than to keep adding more medications.

A normal fasting blood sugar for the non-diabetic is 70-100 and diabetes is diagnosed when it starts running 126 or more on more than one occasion.  It can also be diagnosed with an AIC blood test.  When that number is 6.5 or more you are diagnosed with diabetes.   These tests should be done starting at age 45 or if you have ever had gestational diabetes when pregnant.  It could also be done at any age if you are having any of the symptoms listed above or if you have a family history of diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious problem, however there are ways to combat the issue:

  • Eliminate simple carbohydrates from your diet such as sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, and deserts.
  • Make sure to check carbohydrate amount on the nutrition facts label of the food you purchase.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of moderate paced walking a day to help with blood sugar control.

Many times it may only require making small changes in your diet to improve blood sugars.  For example, if a person is drinking 3 – 12 oz cans of regular soda daily, they would be taking in 30 teaspoons of sugar and this would have a significant impact on their blood sugar. Not only can this impact the blood sugar, it could also lead to unwanted weight gain.  Diet soda is by no means a health food drink, but in terms of blood sugar, it’s a better alternative. Water of course is the best drink for your body.

Shawnee Health Service has two registered dietitians, with one being a certified diabetes educator.  They offer customized nutrition plans, specific for every patient and work closely with your health care provider to find the best methods with diet and medications to control your diabetes.  It is very important that every person with diabetes takes the steps to find out what they need to do to best control the condition.  You can live a long healthy life if you take care of yourself and learn what needs to be done to control this condition.

If you would like to learn more about our nutrition services please visit or call (618) 519-9200.


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All Shawnee Health clinics are currently closed. If you need to get ahold of the On-Call Provider, call 618-519-9200, press option #1, select your “specialty” needed and follow the prompts for our On-Call Provider. If you are dealing with an emergency please call 911 or visit the ER.

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