Today, there are nearly 30 million Americans who are currently living with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Even more staggering, 1 in 4 US residents aged 65 and older have diabetes. While an estimated 21 million have been diagnosed, unfortunately, 8.1 million people are unaware that they have the disease. If not held in check, diabetes can cause kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke.

Generally, diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin. Here are the three types of diabetes.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes is an issue with your body that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. Also known as hyperglycemia, Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. With type 2, your body does use insulin properly.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is most often diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce insulin, which is a hormone that’s needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

During pregnancy, usually around the 24th week, many women develop gestational diabetes. This doesn’t mean you had diabetes before you conceived, or that you will have it after giving birth. But it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice regarding blood glucose levels while you’re planning your pregnancy, so you and your baby achieve optimal health.

Healthy Foods for a Loved One with Diabetes

If you take care of a loved one with diabetes, blood sugar levels are a key factor in determining what he or she can and can’t eat. When you think of managing blood sugar, many with diabetes obsess over everything they can’t have. While it’s important to avoid white, refined breads and pastas and fried, fatty, processed foods, knowing what you should eat is just as crucial.

Nutrition and diabetes experts picked the following power foods because they’re packed with four healthy nutrients, fiber, omega-3s, calcium and vitamin D. Also, they’re exceptionally versatile, so you can use them in recipes and as complements to meals or snacks. Here’s the list:

Beans – Beans contain fiber, plenty of calcium (half cup has 10 percent of daily intake) and are an excellent source of protein with little saturated fat. Add them to salad, soups, chili and more. With so many types of beans, you could have them every day of the week and not eat the same kind twice.

Dairy – Milk, cottage cheese and yogurt provide some of the best sources of calcium and vitamin D. One study found that women who consumed more than 1,200 mg of calcium and more than 800 IU of vitamin D per day were 33 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those consuming less of both nutrients. Stick to fat-free or low-fat versions of your favorite dairy foods – “regular” has a lot of saturated fat. Drink milk with some meals instead of soda, have yogurt or cottage cheese as a snack or dessert and use milk to make oatmeal or thicken certain soups.

Salmon – It’s a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats that reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce your waistline, reduce inflammation and improve insulin resistance. Salmon is also one of the best non-dairy sources of vitamin D. Sauté a salmon fillet for dinner instead of chicken or meat once or twice a week or add canned salmon to salads or omelettes.

Diabetes Management: Successful Care Plan for Diabetes Patients

With a range of associated issues for poorly managed diabetes, including kidney failure, heart disease and stroke, it’s extremely important to have an established care program and daily regimen for diabetes management.

Sharon Roth Maguire, nurse practitioner and Chief Clinical Quality Officer for BrightStar Care®, explains how a full understanding of diabetes and coping skills are necessary for a successful care program.

“For the most effective plan, everyone involved in the process including the patient, caretakers and family should be confident in their knowledge of diabetes and how it effects the patient,” says Maguire. “With daily foot inspections, healthy eating habits and accurate blood sugar tracking, it’s very possible for diabetes patients to successfully self-manage their condition.”

Our independently owned and operated BrightStar Care agencies utilize a combination of self-managed and team-based care program for an effective diabetes care plan. Together, a registered nurse and caregivers develop a specialized care program that helps patients optimize their wellness. Our diabetes care approach includes learning safe needle disposal, proper procedure for daily foot inspections, weight management strategies, medication adherence, appointment coordination and regular checks of vital signs and blood glucose levels. With the program, the patients and their families gain the knowledge and coping skills needed for diabetes management and its related conditions.

For more information on how BrightStar Care can help you care for a loved one living with diabetes, contact us or call 866.618.7827.