Today’s post comes from Dixie Harms, DNP, ARNP, FNP-C, BC-ADM, FAANP. Dixie is a family nurse practitioner at Family Medicine of Urbandale in Urbandale, IA and also serves as Adjunct Clinical Faculty at the University of Iowa College of Nursing. She specializes in diabetes care and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Dixie is also a member of ENC’s Health Professional Advisor panel.
There are a few important events happening during the month of November. First of all, it is American Diabetes Month. Did you know that there are almost 26 million children and adults in the U.S. that have diabetes? What seems to be even more astounding is that there are another 79 million Americans who have prediabetes. So what is prediabetes? According to the American Diabetes Association, prediabetes exists when a person’s blood glucose is slightly higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.
The important message here is that individuals with prediabetes are at higher risk for developing diabetes. However, a person can help prevent prediabetes from progressing to diabetes by implementing “therapeutic lifestyle changes” or TLC. We all know that TLC is usually thought of as “tender loving care”. In some respects, tender loving care is very similar to “therapeutic lifestyle changes”. A person with prediabetes really needs to practice tender loving care for their personal self to prevent diabetes, especially since complications include increased risk of heart attack or stroke, kidney damage, vision loss or blindness, chronic nerve pain and increased risk of infections to name a few.
TLC includes dietary and lifestyle changes that promote improved blood glucose and weight management, like increasing physical activity. A person can reduce their risk of diabetes by 58% by increasing their physical activity to 30 minutes per day along with a 7% reduction in body
Thanksgiving is also right around the corner and can be a tricky time for those managing diabetes. For anyone with diabetes, consuming a Thanksgiving meal means having some of the foods you love but remembering to practice portion control. While turkey will not raise your blood glucose, it’s important to think about limiting the potatoes and gravy, dressing, and definitely the pie. I’m not saying you can’t have these foods, but be sure to keep portions in check, since they are high in carbohydrates that affect blood glucose levels. Exercise is also important around the holidays, as increased physical activity can actually make the insulin produced by the body work more efficiently and help maintain lower blood glucose levels.weight. For example, a person who weighs 175 pounds can reduce their risk with a 12-pound weight loss in addition to exercising 30 minutes daily.
The last important occurrence in November is National Nurse Practitioner Week (November 11-17). Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are members of the health care team, and there are over 155,000 NPs in the United States. NPs are expert clinicians with advanced training who provide primary, acute and specialty health care. NPs have master’s and doctoral degrees and can offer a full range of services such as ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests; diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions; prescribing medications and treatments; and managing overall health care. NPs are your Partner in Health. If you see a nurse practitioner, tell him or her “thanks” for being involved in your health.
Dr. Dixie Harms, DNP, ARNP, FNP-C, BC-ADM, FAANP
Family Nurse Practitioner