West Virginia Assistive Technology System

Diabetes

Did You Know?

Over 250,000 West Virginians live with diabetes, yet one third of them have not been officially diagnosed. Diabetes is a medical condition that affects your pancreas and its ability to produce insulin. Insulin is a natural chemical found in your body that breaks down sugar from the food you eat.

In Type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn't produce any insulin. Type 2 diabetes, the more common form, develops when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or does not use insulin efficiently. People with either type of diabetes can benefit from a balanced lifestyle that includes physical activity, healthy eating habits, and routine health care.

Take Charge!

Diabetes doesn't have to control your health. By managing your diabetes you can take control of how you live your life and help prevent long term negative effects of diabetes.

  • Know the warning signs. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms such as:
    • Numbness or tingling in your feet or hands
    • Sores, wounds or bruises that do not heal
    • Increased frequency of infections
    • Changes in your teeth and gums
    • Dry skin and increased thirst
  • Control of your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels by eating nutritious foods and being physically active throughout the day.
  • Take charge of your eating habits. What you eat has considerable impact on your blood sugar levels, a significant factor in controlling diabetes.Eating a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal, is a great way to start!
  • If diagnosed with diabetes, stay current with routine check-ups. Schedule a regular diabetes check-up every 2-3 months and a dental exam every 6 months.
  • Talk to your doctor to make a diet and exercise plan that's right for you.

Tips for Controlling Diabetes

There are many simple things you can do everyday to manage your diabetes..

  • Check for any open cuts or wounds, especially on your hands and feet. Tell your doctor if bruises, open wounds or sores do not go away. Slow healing can be a sign of poor blood circulation or nerve damage.
  • Brush your teeth and floss everyday to prevent gum disease and loss of teeth. Notify your doctor if there are any changes in your teeth or gums.
  • Tell your doctor if you have noticed any changes in your eyesight.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Thirty minutes of activity over the course of most days is a great way to keep in shape and maintain recommended blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Take prescribed medicines everyday, even when you feel good.
  • Record your daily sugar levels. Make sure you share this record with your doctor.
  • Participate in community health screenings.

Find Out More:

Visit the American Diabetes Association (ADA) at www.diabetes.org or call 800-342-2383 for resources and programs sponsored by your local ADA chapter.

Find a nutrition and physical activity plan that's right for you through 'Diabetes & Me' at www.cdc.gov/diabetes/consumer/.

Visit www.wvdiabetes.org or call (304) 558-0644 to find diabetes classes and medical specialists in your county.