Desafiando La Diabetes
U.S. Hispanics are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites, and diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death within the Hispanic community, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During this month we should aim to raise awareness and educate ourselves, family and friends on type 2 diabetes to work towards living happier and healthier lives.
Celebrity chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz is working with Merck on Desafiando La Diabetes: Logra Tus Metas,a program urging Hispanics with type 2 diabetes to know their A1C – average blood sugar level over the past two to three months – and to work with their doctor to develop a plan to set and attain their personal A1C goal.
“After struggling with type 2 diabetes for many years, my grandfather passed away from a stroke, one of the serious complications of diabetes,” says Moreinos Schwartz. “That’s why I’m passionate about empowering Hispanics to learn how to reach their blood sugar goals.”
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that many people with diabetes have an A1C of less than 7 percent to help reduce the risk of complications, such as blindness, amputation, heart disease and stroke.
For certain individuals, a higher or lower A1C may be more appropriate, which is why it is important for people with diabetes to speak with their health care providers to discuss the A1C goal that is right for them. Nearly half of people with diabetes have an A1C greater than 7 percent.
Most people with diabetes are aware of the importance of lowering blood sugar, but it’s also important for patients to understand why blood sugar can sometimes go too low. For people on certain diabetes medications, low blood sugar can be caused by skipping meals or excessive exercise and can make you feel shaky, dizzy, sweaty or hungry, and sometimes, faint. If you have type 2 diabetes, make sure your doctor explains the signs and symptoms of high and low blood sugar to you and let him or her know if you are experiencing any of those symptoms.
Diabetes is a progressive disease, and sometimes your treatment plan may need to change. If your doctor decides it is time to change your medication, it doesn’t mean you haven’t tried hard enough – many people need to adjust their treatment plans over time to reach their A1C goal.
Key Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Achieving blood sugar control can be challenging, yet it is a crucial part of a diabetes management plan. People who join Desafiando La Diabetes can stay motivated and take an active role in controlling their blood sugar by asking a few key questions to guide their discussion with their doctor:
- * What is my A1C and what should my goal be?
- * How often should I test my blood sugar and what should my targets be?
- * What are the possible side effects of the medication(s) I am taking?
- * What are the signs and symptoms of high and low blood sugar?
- * Do I need to make any changes to my overall diabetes management plan?
Visit DesafiandoLaDiabetes.com and pledge to work with your doctor to know your A1C and set and attain your blood sugar goals, or to encourage a loved one to do the same. You can also find bilingual resources for you and your family including diabetes-friendly recipes from Chef Leticia.