Diabetes Awareness & Education
Put down that saltshaker!
Salt, or sodium, causes your body to retain water. Too much water in your body may make your legs swell and make it more difficult for your heart to pump. Eating too much sodium can also raise your blood pressure, damaging your heart and even your kidneys.
To eat less salt, follow these tips:
- Don’t put salt on food at the table, and don’t add salt when you cook. Instead, use herbs, pepper, garlic, lemon juice or vinegar to add flavor.
- Avoid most processed foods (canned, frozen or boxed). They’re generally high in sodium. These include seasonings (soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and barbecue sauce), canned vegetables and processed meats (lunch meats, sausage, hot dogs, bacon and cured ham).
- Cut out salty snack foods like crackers, chips, salted nuts, pretzels, olives and popcorn.
- Snack on fruit, vegetable sticks and unsalted pretzels and popcorn.
- When you eat out, choose steamed, grilled, broiled or boiled foods. Avoid foods with breading, which has a lot of salt. Have sauces, dressings and condiments served on the side and then use only small amounts.
Call the BCN BlueHealthConnection® message line at 800-637-2972 and ask for these self-help guides: “Children’s Guide to Healthy Nutrition,” “Eating and Exercising for Better Health,” “High Blood Pressure” and “Taking Control of Your Weight.” Visit MiBCN.com/bhc for more information about the relationship between sodium and chronic conditions.
Signs of diabetes? See a doctor
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It’s important to know the symptoms and risk factors of the disease. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, but you have risk factors that contribute to diabetes, you should see your physician for a diagnosis.
Symptoms: Frequent urination, Excessive thirst, Unexplained weight loss, Extreme hunger, Sudden vision changes Tingling or numbness in hands or feet, Exhaustion, Very dry skin, Sores that are slow to heal, More infections than usual
Risk factors of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes or juvenile-onset diabetes risk factors include autoimmune, genetic and environmental factors.
- Type 2 diabetes or adult-onset diabetes risk factors include older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, prior history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, physical inactivity, race and ethnicity.
African-Americans, Latino-Americans, Native Americans and some Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are at high risk for type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes develops in 2 percent to 5 percent of all pregnancies, but usually disappears following delivery. Nearly 40 percent of women with a history of gestational diabetes develop diabetes in the future.
What you can do:
Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes is essential to preventing serious problems later. The American Diabetes Association recommends that doctors measure total cholesterol, low-density lipids, high-density lipids and triglycerides in adults with diabetes at least once a year. People with diabetes should check with their doctors before starting an exercise program since exercise affects blood glucose levels.
The BCN diabetes program is available to members 18 and older who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This program helps you better understand diabetes, how it affects your life and how you can better manage your condition. For more information, call the Disease Management department at 800-392-4247. Registered nurses are available 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (except holidays). Visit MiBCN.com/bhc for more information about diabetes.