NAPIER: Reducing risk of Alzheimer’s, diabetes, hypertension | Local News

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Preventing diabetes and high blood pressure are key factors to living a healthy and happy lifestyle.

What a person eats and drinks, how often a person participates in physical activity, and if a person consistently takes medicine, if needed, can determine whether someone develops either of these illnesses.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

When you eat food, your food is broken down into a sugar called glucose. Glucose gives your body the energy it needs to work. To use glucose as energy, your body needs insulin.

When you have Type 2 diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin or does not use it well, or possibly both. Since your body’s cells cannot use the glucose from your food as energy, the glucose stays in your blood where it can lead to serious problems.

There is no cure for diabetes, but the good news is it can be managed.

Balancing what you eat with physical activity and medicine, if prescribed, can help your blood glucose maintain a healthy range. Many people with diabetes live long and healthy lives and so can you.

Unfortunately, many people who have diabetes do not know it because many of the symptoms seem harmless in the beginning. As the disease progresses so do the complications, but this does not have to be you.

Many people who learn they have diabetes worry that it means their life is over, or that they will not be able to do everything they used to do. Neither of those things is true.

You may need to change some things about your daily routine, such as your eating habits and physical activity. It is not your fault that you have diabetes, but it is your job to take of yourself.

What is Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)?

Blood pressure is how hard blood pushes against the walls of blood vessels as it flows through the body. It is normal for blood pressure to drop when a person is relaxed or asleep and to rise during physical activity or exercise; however, high blood pressure is a serious medical condition that makes your heart work harder than it should.

High blood pressure causes blood vessels to constrict (get smaller). Prolonged elevated high blood pressure that is untreated can lead to irreversible damage to your heart, kidney, eyes and brain. This damage can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease or even blindness.

Therefore, it is necessary to know your numbers. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80. If you are an adult with blood pressure of 140/90 or higher, you have high blood pressure.

Just like diabetes, balancing what you eat with physical activity can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure. If prescribed, medicine can be taken that will help with blood pressure control.

Join South Health District on Feb. 15 for a Mind & Body Wellness Health Fair which includes health screenings for blood pressure, blood sugar, hemoglobin A1C and cholesterol. Weight and body mass index checks will also be provided.

Registration is required due to limited seating. Those interested should call (229) 333-5290 or visit www.southhealthdistrict.com to register.

Elsie Napier, MSN, APRN, BC, CDE, is a family nurse practitioner with South Health District.

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