Published On: Tue, Feb 28th, 2017

HEALTH COLUMN: Dear Cherokee Choices (Type 2 diabetes discussion)

Dear Cherokee Choices,

I really don’t understand what Type 2 Diabetes is and if I am pre-diabetic what I can do about it?  Isn’t it unavoidable?

Sincerely, Sugar

 

Hi Sugar,

This topic is very confusing and you are not alone.  Did you know that according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that “one out of three U.S. adults has prediabetes and nine out of 10 of them don’t know it?”  So let’s begin with what Type 2 diabetes is.  Type 2 Diabetes develops when the body does not use insulin properly.  Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose, or blood sugar, to be taken up from the bloodstream into the muscle, where it is burned for energy, and into fat, where it’s stored.  When you have Type 2 diabetes it creates insulin resistance which means that the insulin is less efficient at delivering the glucose/sugar, so sugar levels rise in the blood instead of being used for energy.  This leads to a vicious cycle because your pancreas goes into overdrive to try to remove the sugar in your blood.  Over time, if you do not remove the sugar through exercise and losing weight your blood sugar will continue to climb until you have diabetes.

The good news is that just because you have prediabetes it does not mean that you will get diabetes.  The CDC did a study on diabetes called a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).  In this study they found that one could reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent if you can achieve and maintain a weight loss of 5-7 percent of their initial body weight (sometimes just 10 lbs.) and achieve and maintain at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (about 20 minutes a day).

We understand that lifestyle change is not easy and that why the tribe is offering a Diabetes Prevention Program called Cherokee Strong. These classes are fun and interactive with free meals, and opportunities to win prizes. Classes are being offered in Cherokee Wednesdays at 12, and 4:45 pm starting March 8th and in Snowbird from 12-1 on Tuesdays starting March 9th!  If you are interested in attending any of these classes contact Robin 359-6785, robibail@nc-cherokee.com or Jennifer (828) 346-6990, jennwach@nc-cherokee.com (Snowbird Classes) low.  We, here at Cherokee Choices, hope this helps, but if you still have questions please make an appointment with the Cherokee Indian Hospital.

Sincerely, Rose James, RN- Cherokee Choices