Diabetes & Me


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A research project on the health barriers affecting people living in low socioeconomic status in Pontiac, MI, led my colleague, Markia Jones, RN BSN, and I to develop this utilization tool. This is a booklet we created to promote diabetes awareness, discuss complications of the disease and offer resources for those living in Pontiac, MI.

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Diabetes & Me

  1. 1. + Diabetes & Me + What is diabetes anyway? Diabetes is a disease characterized by too much sugar in the blood. Normally the hormone, insulin, carries the glucose to all the body’s cells to create energy. In Type 2 Diabetes, the insulin is either not functioning properly or at all. The high levels of sugar left in the blood can starve your body’s cells from energy. Uncontrolled diabetes can damage your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels. Diabetes can also lead to a premature death.
  2. 2. + I have diabetes. So what does this really mean? Diabetes is a disease in which glucose (or very dangerous. Monitoring your blood sugar sugar) is not properly broken down by the with a home blood glucose (sugar) monitor is body. There are two main types of diabetes. important if you have diabetes so you can They are called Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 avoid dangerous, and even life-threatening Diabetes. More than 90% of people with the high or low blood sugar levels. disease have Type 2 Diabetes. This booklet Low blood sugar (less than 70 mg/dL) can will focus on Type 2 Diabetes and what you cause sweating, nervousness, shakiness, can do to live a long, healthy life. weakness and hunger. When this occurs, you In Type 2 Diabetes, the pancreas produces must act quickly to raise your blood sugar. insulin but the body’s cells do not use the Try drinking a cup of fruit juice or a regular insulin properly. This is called insulin soda. When you are starting to feel better, resistance. Type 2 Diabetes can be controlled follow up with a bowl of cereal or some with proper diet and exercise, sometimes crackers and milk. combined with medications or insulin High blood sugar (greater than 130 mg/dL) injections. can cause increased thirst and urination, Normal blood sugar ranges between 70-130 nausea, vomiting and confusion. If you have mg/dL before meals. Blood sugar that is too these symptoms, check your blood sugar. Get low is called hypoglycemia. Blood sugar that is emergency care if you have difficulty too high is called hyperglycemia. Both can be breathing. 2
  3. 3. I feel fine now. How can diabetes affect my life later? Not all people experience the symptoms of diabetes. In fact, lots of people who have diabetes don’t even know it because they do not feel any different. It is important to know that even if you feel fine, you still must manage diabetes through diet, exercise and medications, if prescribed. It is also necessary to check your blood sugar regularly. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious complications. 3
  4. 4. + Complications in Diabetes High blood glucose (or blood sugar) can damage many parts of the body, such as the heart, blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys. By keeping your blood sugar within normal ranges, you can prevent complications of diabetes. Infection People with diabetes are at higher risk of getting infections. High blood sugar causes high levels of sugar in your body’s tissues. Bacteria thrive in areas that have sugar and infections result because of this. The body’s defense system is also decreased in people with diabetes. The most common places for infection are your bladder, kidneys, vagina, gums, feet and skin. Early treatment of infections can prevent more serious complications. The diabetic person should treat even a small cut seriously. Neuropathy Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that in diabetics tend to be in the arms, legs, hands and feet. Neuropathy can feel like pins and needles, tingling, burning, stabbing or shooting pain. A loss of sensation to touch or temperature may also occur. Complications may result from not being able to feel pressure or injury to the feet. Blisters and sores may go unnoticed because diabetics are unable to feel them. Infections in the feet can get so serious that an amputation may be necessary. Heart and Blood Vessel Disease (or Cardiovascular Disease) Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a disease of the heart and blood vessels in which the vessels can get hardened or clogged. The diseased vessels can lead to heart attacks and strokes. People with diabetes are four times more likely to get cardiovascular disease than non-diabetics. This is the number one killer of people with diabetes. Diabetes can also lead to heart failure, peripheral arterial disease or cerebral vascular disease. A doctor or nurse can help you prevent symptoms of CVD. Kidney Failure Your kidneys work as filters to clean your blood and flush out wastes. High blood sugar and high blood pressure can damage the filters in your kidneys. There is no cure to kidney failure. Over time, the damage to the filters may get so bad that your kidneys may fail at doing their job. You may have to have a special machine clean your blood for you through a process called dialysis. Sometimes a kidney transplant may be necessary. Blood sugar control can help prevent kidney failure. 4
  5. 5. + Complications in Diabetes By keeping your blood sugar within normal ranges, you can avoid long-term complications of diabetes. Sexual Dysfunction People with diabetes can develop sexual problems due to damage to the nerves and blood vessels in sexual organs. Sexual dysfunction can happen to men and women alike. In men, erectile dysfunction, or the inability to have an erection may occur. Men may also experience retrograde ejaculation, a dysfunction where the semen goes into the bladder instead of ejaculated out of the penis. Women may experience decreased sexual excitement or inability to become aroused. Diabetic Retinopathy Diabetic retinopathy is a disease of the eyes. The high amounts of sugar in the blood damage the tiny blood vessels in the eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults. The longer you have diabetes, the higher your risk is for developing retinopathy. Symptoms include seeing spots or floaters in your vision, having blurred vision, having dark or empty spots in the center of your vision or difficulty seeing well at night. Depression Everyone feels down once in a while. But when life seems hopeless and that feeling won’t go away for more than two weeks, you may be experiencing depression. The daily stress of managing diabetes may overwhelm you at times. Or the symptoms of complications related to diabetes may become very bothersome to you. If you start feeling depressed, talk to your doctor or nurse about it. Counseling, antidepressants or a combination of the two may be the solution to help you through difficult times. Oral Health People who have diabetes have a higher risk of getting oral infections due to high blood sugar. Bacteria thrive in tissues that have high amounts of sugar and can cause infections. Sometimes these infections get so bad that you can loose your teeth. People with uncontrolled diabetes may develop bleeding and sore gums. This can further develop into an infection called periodontitis. If you notice red, swollen, or painful gums, it is a good idea to see a dentist to prevent worsening oral health. 5
  6. 6. + The diabetic diet Tastes great! The key to a diabetic diet is controlling your types of foods will make a diabetic condition blood sugar levels. The best way to control worse. If buying fresh fruits and vegetables is blood sugar levels is by eating a wide variety too expensive of an option for you, rinse of fruits and vegetables. canned and frozen foods before cooking them to reduce the salt level. Another goal of a diabetic diet is consistency. Try keeping a regular schedule of what and When planning a diabetic diet, it is important when you eat by eating meals and snacks at to consider the sources of carbohydrates, the same time every day. The meals should be proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates have the at four to five hour intervals, and it is important greatest impact on blood sugar levels. not to skip meals. Including quality carbohydrate options like whole grain toast, apples, or corn on the cob at The most important aspect of the diabetic diet each meal will help maintain proper blood is making proper decisions when selecting sugar levels. Simple carbohydrates increase foods. The best choices are fresh fruits, blood sugar. Lean proteins should be paired vegetables, and whole grains. These options with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Fats should be a cornerstone of your daily meal should be limited to only good fats like olive planning and should be accompanied by foods oil. with less sugar, less fat, and less salt. Foods high in sugar, fat, and salt are leading causes It is important to limit the amounts of sweets in the development of diabetes. And, these you have and have portion control in all meals. 6
  7. 7. + Exercise Lots of opportunities right here in Pontiac! No matter where you live in Pontiac, you Another great, low cost way to make Other recreational opportunities abound are near free or low cost outdoor exercise fun is playing a round of golf at in Pontiac. Walking and jogging can exercise opportunities. Pontiac has 14 Pontiac Municipal Golf Course. The golf occur anywhere. If you want to keep city parks and a municipal golf course. course is located on Golf Drive just 1/8 track of the distance you walk try the mile east of Telegraph Road. The course track at Wisner Memorial Stadium. Pontiac parks come in all sizes. From offers a wonderful day walking through Located on Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, just small neighborhood parks, like wetlands, ponds, wooded areas, and northwest of downtown, Wisner Memorial Richardson Park near downtown, to large along the shore of Crystal Lake. This Stadium has a full outdoor athletic track wooded parks, such as Hawthorn Park. municipal course offers very low cost open to the public. All parks offer outdoor recreation exercise to Pontiac residents. possibilities including walking, cycling, Another great opportunity is the Clinton jogging, or playing with children or Golf offers great exercise. A round of golf River Trail. The trail crosses Pontiac as grandchildren. can include as much as four miles of part of a 16-mile trail network crossing walking. In order to increase the health several southeast Michigan cities. Try taking a walk through Beaudette benefit of golf, you should walk the Park. Beaudette Park is located off of One of the best ways to add exercise into course while carrying or pulling your Orchard Lake Road on River Bank Drive. your life is to walk your own clubs. A recent study by the Rose Center Beaudette Park is home to Dawsons Mill neighborhood. Walking where you live for Health and Sports Sciences found that Pond, which is part of the Clinton River. A does not just provide quality exercise, a golfer who walks a nine hole course can relaxing stroll by the pond is a great form but allows you to better know your burn up 721 calories and 36 holes a week of exercise. neighbors. burns up to nearly 3,000 calories. 7
  8. 8. Guidelines for checkups When to see my doctor or nurse In addition to eating a healthy diet and exercising In addition to getting your blood levels checked, it is regularly, it is important to follow up with a health care important for you to get routine physical examinations, professional. Following the ABCs of Diabetes can eye care and foot care done by your doctor or nurse. significantly reduce the chances of preventing or Your health care provider may refer you to see a delaying the complications of diabetes. special eye doctor called an ophthalmologist. The A: Hemoglobin A1C – This is a type of blood test that ophthalmologist will assess your eyes by checking to tests your blood sugar over time. Get this tested once a see how far and well you can see. You may get special year. A good goal is to keep this level under 7%. eye drops during the exam to better assess for eye problems. B: Blood Pressure – Get your blood pressure checked every time you go to the clinic. Your blood pressure Foot care involves careful examination by a doctor or should be around 130/80. Talk to your health care nurse to check for any cuts, wounds or nerve pain that provider about achieving a healthy blood pressure with accompanies diabetes. medications if diet and exercise does not reduce your The best way to avoid complications of diabetes is to blood pressure. maintain a normal blood sugar through a proper diet, C: Cholesterol – Check this blood level once a year. regular exercise and by following a personalized plan Your LDL or “bad” cholesterol should be less than 100. recommended to you by a doctor or nurse. 8
  9. 9. Local resources for diabetes Diabetes + care, medications, & supplies Care in Pontiac Medical & Dental Care Health Insurance Assistance Diabetes Self-Care Management Program Oakland County Dept. of Human Services St. Joseph Mercy Hospital S Saginaw Street District 44405 Woodward Ave 235 N. Saginaw Pontiac MI 48342 Pontiac, MI 48341 248-975-5200 248-858-6653 Ask about eligibility for: • Supplemental Security Income Oakland Primary Health Services • Aged, Blind, Disabled program 1701 Baldwin Road • MIChoice Suite 101 • Medicare Savings Program Pontiac, MI 48340 • Adult Medical Program 248-332-6747 • Low Income Families • Special N Support Gary Burnstein Community Clinic • Transitional Medical Assistance 90 West University Drive Pontiac, MI 48342 Prescription Assistance 248-758-6090 Mi Rx Discount Card Call 1-800-755-6479 for application Mercy Place Clinic (Then press 2, then 1) 55 Clinton Street Pontiac, MI 48342 Partnership for Prescription Assistance MI 248-333-0978 *Must use online application at: www.pparx.org Oakland County Health Division Dental Program County Service Center Diabetic Supplies 1200 North Telegraph Road, Building 36 American Medical Services Pontiac, MI 48341 825 W. Huron St. 248-858-1306 Pontiac, MI 48341 248-332-6688 Father Pops Clinic *Offers free diabetic testing supplies with 400 South Blvd W most insurance programs along with free in- Pontiac, MI 48341 home training and support from a diabetic 248-334-2126 specialist. 9
  10. 10. + Remember, a proper diet, regular exercise, & routine blood sugar monitoring is key to maintaining a healthy life with diabetes. Created by: Markia Jones, BSN, RN Karishma Guha, BSN, RN