News & Events

SIHF Healthcare Stresses the Importance of Understanding Diabetes During American Diabetes Month

November 6, 2017

November is American Diabetes Month, and SIHF Healthcare wants to educate the public on the seriousness of diabetes.

There are three main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, also called “juvenile diabetes”, is when the body does not produce insulin. It is typically diagnosed in children or young adults.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by adults whose bodies are insulin resistant. Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman, who has never had diabetes before, has high blood glucose levels during pregnancy.

Diabetes is not a condition to take lightly. As of 2016, it is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. There are, however, steps to help lower an individual’s risk:

1)   Keep an Active, Healthy Lifestyle:
Eating poorly and having a relatively inactive lifestyle can increase the risk for diabetes. Setting realistic goals, such as eating two pieces of fruit a day, is a good start to prevent diabetes. 

2)   Cut Out Smoking:
Smoking raises cholesterol, elevates blood pressure, strains the lungs and heart, and can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. If an individual wants to take charge of his or her health and quit smoking, they can. Quitting cold turkey, using a nicotine supplement, or seeing a SIHF Healthcare provider for guidance can help with the process of quitting.

3)   Lower High Blood Pressure:
High blood pressure increases the risk for a stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, and eye problems. A SIHF Healthcare provider can prescribe individual lifestyle changes and medications to help reduce high blood pressure.

4)   Controlling Blood Glucose Levels:
Individuals are diagnosed with diabetes if their blood glucose levels get too high. Understanding what causes blood glucose levels to rise and fall can help individuals better maintain their levels and prevent diabetes. Things that can make levels rise include: excessive carbohydrates, illness, stress, inactivity, medication side effects, or changes in hormone levels. Things that make levels fall include: missing a meal, alcoholic beverages, excessive activity, few carbohydrates, or side effects of certain medications.

5)   Monitor Cholesterol:
Bad cholesterol can lead to a buildup in the arteries and subsequent damage to blood vessels. These steps can help improve cholesterol: don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight, try to exercise every day, eat a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet, and increase the intake of monounsaturated fats.

SIHF Healthcare understands that diabetes is a confusing and scary disease. Schedule a visit with a local SIHF Healthcare center to get answers to your questions or concerns about diabetes or general health. Physicians can create personal action plans to manage or lower an individual’s risk for diabetes. To find a list of SIHF locations, visit http://www.sihf.org/health-centers.

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About SIHF Healthcare
SIHF Healthcare operates a network of more than 30 health centers across 11 Illinois counties with more than 160 medical providers who deliver comprehensive health care services including: adult, family, women’s health, pediatrics, dental services, behavioral health, and population health services. As one of the largest Federally Qualified Health Center networks in the country, SIHF Healthcare is devoted to leading individuals and communities to their healthiest lifestyle regardless of their ability to pay. For more information, visit www.sihf.org.