Dr. Carmen Chinea, Chief Medical Officer, Hudson River HealthCare (Peekskill, NY), developed the following tips that people with diabetes can take to help reduce their risk for developing complications, which include kidney disease, blindness, amputation and heart disease.
- Say hello to your pharmacist: The next time you pick-up your prescription, stop and greet your pharmacist. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions that might be on you mind- you may find him/her to be a great source of information on diabetes education and care.
- Build a better taco: Food choices can be difficult for Latinos with diabetes. Try substituting healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. For instance, pack a whole wheat tortilla with fiber-rich foods such as black beans, brown rice and steamed veggies. Do yourself a favor and don’t skip meals- it’s easier to manage your blood sugar if you don’t go too long without eating.
- Move it, shake It!: Being active for at least 30 minutes a day can greatly lower your risk for developing the complications of diabetes. Don’t worry about a gym membership- just put on a pair of good support shoes and walk. Try breaking the workday routine and walk during your lunch break
- Get social about your diabetes: Living with diabetes can often be isolating, but you are not alone. Find an off-line or Facebook friend to lend support. There are also numerous online support groups for Latinos with diabetes.
- Play the numbers game: It is important to take charge of tracking your vital numbers. Beyond A1C, it is important to track cholesterol and blood pressure. For example, buy a home blood pressure monitor and discuss the results with your doctor at your next appointment.
Dr. Carmen Chinea, Chief Medical Officer, Hudson River HealthCare is part of a new initiative in New York called the Diabetes Leadership Initiative — a partnership between the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). The program is designed to address the serious and growing impact of diabetes and its related complications.
Note: With the goal of educating people with diabetes, the DLI has arranged for a three-and-a half-hour community education event on Saturday in Yonkers focusing on the ABCs of diabetes care, healthy eating tips and stress management techniques. The event caters to both English and Spanish speakers.