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OKL: Does treatment with insulin mean that patients have done something wrong?


Dr. Azar: This is actually not true and it is a misconception. People have come to believe that insulin treatment means they are doomed. People need to understand that dia- betes in itself is a state of insulin deficiency. Even if you are in your late 30s or early 40s, the diagnosis means there was an insulin deficien- cy already at play. That does not mean you will need insulin therapy right away, but as the disease pro- gresses your pancreas makes less and less insulin and therefore prompts the physician to transition to insulin therapy. It does not mean that a pa- tient has done anything wrong, but simply that insulin resistance and deficiency is progressing. You can help yourself by watching your diet and losing weight. This is where you can overcome that insulin resis- tance; possibly decreasing insulin requirements or not needing insulin altogether. However most diabetics will likely need insulin after several years of diabetes.


OKL: What are some


of the challenges faced by people with diabetes during the holidays?


Gloria Matthews, RN: The holi- days are a special time; filled with friends, family and food which can make it a very difficult time for peo- ple with diabetes. Holidays can also be filled with anxiety and stress, which can also wreak havoc on blood sugars. Holiday activities do not have to disrupt diabetes man- agement goals. I feel that what peo- ple with diabetes struggle with the most is portion control, regular monitoring, preparation, and beat- ing themselves up when they do overindulge.


OKL: What tips do you


have for people with di- abetes to overcome some of thes e challenges?


Gloria Matthews, RN Let’s look at these challenges one at a time: Mindless eating is dangerous, but mindful eating can ensure that you get to participate and enjoy your holidays to the fullest without feel- ing deprived. Never sit near the food, or eat from a box or the bag. Those two habits will often make you eat more than what you may have intended. Always try to serve items on a plate so you can see how much you are eating. After the party is over, get rid of the leftovers. Make sure and share the joy! By sharing your leftovers you will ensure that holiday treats do not stay around. Monitoring blood sugar is import- ant, so do not stop checking it. You may even check it more often. There’s no such thing such as a bad blood sugar. Monitoring is just a tool to help you manage your blood sugar and to see how your choices and activities have affected it. You will know where your weaknesses are when you check regularly, and that in turn will help you make good choices.


If you overindulge, don’t be dis- couraged. Just get back on track. And keep in mind that you are not alone. The holidays can be a diffi- cult time for people with diabetes and people without diabetes. It’s a universal struggle that all of us have to face. It is never too late to make right choices since controlling blood sugars will only improve your ener- gy, stamina, and productivity. And never forget that an ounce of pre- vention is worth a pound of cure. Oklahomans, the time is now to


make changes—and it all starts with small steps. It may simply be slowly decreasing the number of sugary beverages we drink or fatty foods we eat. As we approach this holiday sea- son, let us make smart choices in regards to what we eat and drink. You may find it enjoyable to join a local gym or even find a training partner for a sporting event.


29.1 million


Americans affected


8 million


Americans are unaware they have diabetes


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