The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR Students get diabetes prevention and treatment tips

Shameaka Jones/ reporter

Knowledge is the most powerful weapon in the fight against diabetes, a TR Campus audience was told Oct. 9.

“Education is power,” said Rosaro Aguayo of JPS Health Promotions. “We need to educate ourselves as much as we can because it will give us power to make decisions over our lives.”

Aguayo’s talk Diabetes Education dealt with both prevention and maintenance of the disease.

Diabetes, she said, occurs when glucose sugar builds up in the blood to the extent that the body cannot use it for energy. She explained the two types of diabetes — Type 1, also known as juvenile diabetes, and Type 2, commonly diagnosed in adults over age 40 whose bodies do not produce enough insulin, a substance that regulates carbohydrates such as glucose.

“Nine out of 10 people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes,” she said. “This is an epidemic.”

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, Aguayo said, include a tired feeling, excessive hunger or thirst, weight loss, frequent urination, itchy skin and a tingling sensation in the feet.

However, she said, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented, and the key is keeping blood glucose at the proper level.

“Screening is very important,” she said. “It is important to know your numbers, not just blood sugar, but also blood pressure and cholesterol. Blood glucose testing gives you a picture of your diabetes control.”

Physical activity is also very important, Aguayo said, and need not be expensive.

“It is not necessary [for people] to pay for a gym membership,” she said, “but to choose physical activities that they enjoy, like a simple walk or do chair exercises — keep it fun. Exercise to feel exhilarated, not exhausted. Pace yourself. You are more prone to quit if you overwork yourself. Take it little by little to make it a daily habit of exercising.”

Thirty minutes, five times a week, Aguayo said, is the recommended extent of physical activity.

Aguayo also emphasized the importance of a healthy diet.

“In this society, we overeat,” she said. “Level off. Never eat a carb by itself. Always have a protein. Women should have three portions of carbs with each meal, and men should have four per meal.”

TR health services coordinator Veronica Warrior said healthy eating should begin in childhood. “We need to watch everything we eat,” she said.  “You don’t have to eat a lot. It’s what you eat that matters.

Aguayo agreed.

“Fat children make fat adults.” Meat servings should be the size of the palm of the hand, “not the size of the state of Texas,” Aguayo said.

“Meal planning and glucose monitoring are also ways to manage diabetes, and some people get taken off medication if they are able to achieve control,” she said.

Aguayo said most people diagnosed with diabetes are overweight, have a family history of the disease, are over age 40 and belong to certain ethnic groups.

“We acquire bad eating habits from our culture,” Warrior said. “African-Americans tend to have more instances of high blood pressure, which creates a risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, which leads to heart disease.”

She urged attendees to eat grilled instead of fried foods, use peanut or olive oil instead of shortening, avoid alcoholic beverages, assess what meats are eaten and in what portions and drink juice instead of soft drinks.

“It is so much more nutritious to prepare meals at home, than to eat out,” Warrior said. “One of our biggest hazards is knowing what to eat and how to prepare it. A hamburger is a treat. Limit it.”

Diabetics should “be prepared for sick days,” Aguayo said.

“When you are not able to eat solid foods, you must continue to take your medications [and] drink more fluids,” she said. “When you are unable to take foods or fluids for more than four hours, call your doctor.”

Diabetes can be managed, she said, but “it’s a lifelong process.”

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