Whole grain pasta

Whole grain pasta with cheese parmesan and tomatos

Did you know there are more deaths due to diabetes in Kern County than anywhere else in California?

This chronic disease can cause a wide range of health issues and has touched many Kern County families.

However, there is good news.

By embracing healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle, you can fight against one of our community’s most significant health threats.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is crucial for the body to distribute glucose from the bloodstream to various places throughout the body for energy. Without insulin, glucose cannot be properly utilized for energy, causing glucose to build up in the bloodstream and leading to many complications.

There are three types of diabetes; Type 1, Type 2 and gestational. Type 1 accounts for about 5 percent of cases in America and is commonly referred to as “juvenile” diabetes. This type is usually diagnosed when a person is younger and is caused by little to no insulin production. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, as it is typically genetically inherited. Insulin injections are necessary to treat this type of diabetes.

Accounting for roughly 95 percent of cases in America, Type 2 diabetes is the most common. Caused by excess weight and unhealthy diet, this type leads to a decrease in insulin sensitivity in the body. This results in an inability of the body to utilize glucose effectively. Type 2 diabetes is 100 percent preventable by healthy eating and exercise.

Fiber has been shown to play an integral role in Type 2 diabetes prevention and the recommendations stipulate that men should consume 38 grams per day and women should consume 25 grams per day. The best way to incorporate fiber in your diet is by consuming mostly whole-grain carbohydrates.

Look for whole grain on the packaging of all breads, pastas, cereals and rice. Additionally, it is important to drink plenty of water and limit sugary beverages such as soda, energy drinks and juices. Foods containing excess amounts of sugars, such as soda, candy, white bread, potato chips and pastries are another risk factor for diabetes. Reducing your consumption of these foods reduces your risks of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Separate from Type 1 and Type 2, there is also gestational diabetes. This type is exclusive to pregnant woman and is only temporary, meaning it disappears after pregnancy ends. It affects about 2 to 10 percent of total pregnancies in America.

If you are living with diabetes, proper disease management is imperative. Though there are many similarities in managing both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, each disease has some specific differences. Because Type 1 diabetes requires insulin management, carbohydrate intake often dictates insulin amount needed daily. Your doctor will determine an insulin ratio appropriate for your body and, typically, carbohydrate intake at each meal; your premeal injection and post-meal injection will be personalized to counteract the amount of glucose present in your body.

Type 2 diabetes is generally regulated in a different manner. Oftentimes, Type 2 diabetes can be controlled through proper diet and exercise. However, occasionally, your doctor may also prescribe medications such as Metformin and other similar drugs that work to make insulin within the body more sensitive and decrease its resistance.

Consult with your doctor and find the proper disease-management techniques specific to your disease. Having regular check-ups with an endocrinologist and following the guidelines from your doctor is crucial to living a healthy life with minimal complications.

Did you know that 1 out of every 3 Kern County residents has diabetes or prediabetes? This means that it is likely that either you or someone in your family is impacted by this disease. Get informed. Eat well and exercise – your family depends on you. Know your blood glucose levels. Visit your doctor and ask for a blood glucose screening. 

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