Managing Diabetes with Healthy Habits

When David Frickman was diagnosed with pre-diabetes 10 years ago, he decided to make some big changes in his life. First, he increased his physical activity and instead of walking a couple times a week for about 20-30 minutes, he now walks four to five times a week for 30-45 minutes. David also changed his diet. “The big change was giving up eating meat, except fish, and cutting back on sugary drinks,” says Frickman (pictured right, before he changed his diet).

According to the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH), one in every two adults in Hawaii has pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Many of those don’t even know they have diabetes or are at risk for it. Earlier this year, the DOH’s statewide Start Living Healthy program launched a campaign to increase prevention and awareness called Prevent Diabetes. Prevent Diabetes encourages adults in Hawaii to take an online Diabetes Risk Test and share their results with their primary care provider (PCP). 

It took a while, but David finally found a PCP he felt comfortable working with to manage his health. “She’s really encouraged me in my well-being journey by keeping a close eye on my numbers, prescribing medication when necessary, and helping me understand my condition.” Because of these changes, Frickman is no longer pre-diabetic. Best of all, he feels better.

“I feel great,” says Frickman. “Even when I veer off the path and cheat on my diet a little bit, my PCP helps me get back on track and reminds me that even my ‘cheating eating’ is still better than what I was doing to my body before I started getting serious about my eating habits and exercise.”

So what should you look for if you think you may be pre-diabetic? The DOH says that diabetes symptoms can include excessive thirst, urinating often, blurry vision from time to time, feeling fatigued, getting infections more often, or losing feeling or getting a tingling feeling in the feet.

The DOH believes that type 2 diabetes is preventable and manageable in nine out of ten cases. That means diabetics who can manage their blood sugar and make healthy choices can prevent complications. Increasing physical activity, eating nutritious, well-balanced meals and snacks, maintaining a healthy diet, and quitting smoking are all healthy habits that will help you curb your chance of developing diabetes.

Read more about diabetes on Well-Being Hawaii or attend one of our upcoming Health Education Workshops.