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By Kristi Friesen, Registered Dietitian at Project Open Hand
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Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. One in 10 Americans have diabetes-that’s more than 30 million people. Another 84 million adults are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

To raise awareness about diabetes, Project Open Hand is proudly participating in American Diabetes Awareness Month.

Type 1 diabetes means that your body does not make enough insulin, from a genetic or autoimmune cause. Type 1 diabetes is less common (about 5% to 10% of cases).

Type 2 diabetes is 90% to 95% of cases. This is when insulin does not work normally, and blood glucose levels are often higher or lower than the normal range. This can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke and could lead to kidney failure and/or blindness, if not well managed.

Making small changes in your daily routine can have a large impact on your diagnosis of diabetes, or help to prevent the development of the disease if you are at risk:
•Know your carbs. Carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels. Eating the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time each day can help blood glucose stay stable. Talk to a dietitian to identify carbohydrate foods and know your ideal target per meal.
•Balance your plate. Each meal should contain protein & high fiber foods. Eating a balanced plate will slow the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream. •Reduce & limit drinking sugary beverages. Sodas, sweetened coffee, or any sugar sweetened beverage can spike your blood glucose levels. This is also true for 100% fruit juice. Choose water or unsweetened beverages most of the time, and when you have a sweet beverage, keep the serving size small.
•Be active. Be active for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. Try aerobic activity and strength building exercises. Start small and increase to your own tolerance when becoming more active.
•Reduce stress. Stress increases blood glucose. Find ways to help yourself reduce stress, like deep breathing, quiet walks in the park, and taking calm time for yourself.

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