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Diabetes Doesn't Have to Restrict You

December 20, 2019
More people than ever are living with diabetes. In the U.S., 3.3 million adults have diabetes and 1 in 4 of them aren’t even aware they have the disease. Dr. Hira Shakeel and WMAR News’ Christian Schaffer talked about the factors that increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, what you can do to lower the risk of you and your children developing diabetes, and the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

You can live the life you want with diabetes...it doesn't have to restrict you.


“Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder,” Dr. Shakeel explained. “The body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells don’t respond as well as they should to insulin, a condition called insulin resistance. The body then produces too much insulin, which accumulates in your blood, producing high blood glucose levels. Both forms of diabetes, if not well controlled, can cause a range of health problems including kidney damage, eye problems, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.”

In addition to taking the medications your doctor recommends to manage your blood sugar levels, Dr. Shakeel recommends working with a nutrition specialist to create a personalized eating plan based on your age, height, weight, gender, and activity level. She notes that you don’t have to give up all your favorite foods, you simply need to manage portions and make them part of a balanced diet.

To help make managing diabetes easier, Dr. Shakeel said it’s important to educate yourself about the nutritional content of your food and choose non-starchy vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. There are a number of apps that can simplify making wise nutritional choices by telling you how many calories, carbs, and other nutrients each food contains.

“You can live the life you want with diabetes,” she added. “It doesn’t have to restrict you.”
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