Aging Well Partners
- Oct 19
- 4 min
YOU KNOW IT, BUT DO YOU BELIEVE IT?
WE’RE THE PILOT
Our health and wellness journey begins at birth, but most of us don’t know they are in the journey until a health crisis hits us or a family member. Nothing like the shock when a loved one suddenly has a stroke, heart attack, or is diagnosed with a chronic or terminal disease; but even worse if you’re the one this is happening to.
Hopefully you get a second chance to redirect your course, but too often nothing is done. It’s difficult when you don’t have much control over a diagnosis, but unfortunate when you could redirect your health with some changes to lifestyle and diet, and you don’t.
CHANGE IS THE ANSWER
No one ever said change is easy. There is no easy button, but there is an easy choice to make. Make the choice of change and a commitment to your health, so your family and friends don’t have to lose you before your time. Let’s tackle the top two that I see every day that factors in how healthy we’ll be over the course of our lives…D&D. No, not Dungeons and Dragons, but the dreaded diet and diabetes.
Who knew one of the superstars of health mayhem is diabetes, and that diet is the co-conspirator. Together they are invincible at disrupting good health and causing a host of chronic and fatal diseases. It is key that we flip this relationship and make diet the superstar of creating health. It can be done.
The rate of cognitive decline in older people with type 2 diabetes is double that in those without diabetes. My mother died with dementia and type 2 diabetes. Her dad and three sisters all developed type 2 diabetes after 50. That statistic was good enough for me to take my candy jar and high glycemic foods and throw them all in the trash. Interestingly, I saw my prediabetic, severely overweight, non-exercising dad reverse his prediabetes with a super clean diet, ditching his cigarettes, and walking every single day. He had 10 extra years because of it. I am grateful for those extra years.
WHAT DIABETES PROMISES TO DELIVER:
Dementia – A variant of the so-called Alzheimer’s gene, APOE4, seems to interfere with brain cells’ ability to use insulin, which may eventually cause the cells to starve and die. Unofficially, it’s called Type 3 diabetes. (Mayo Clinic)
The Three Amigos: High Blood Pressure, Stroke & Heart Disease – If you have diabetes you’re twice as likely to have all three.
Vision loss and Blindness – Diabetes can damage your eyes over time and cause vision loss and sometimes blindness. It’s more common than you realize.
Kidney Failure– Once again diabetes is the winner. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease.
Neuropathy – Buzzing, tingling, and burning in feet and hands is nerve damage and diabetes comes in first as a cause.
Slow healing of wounds – When you have diabetes, your body produces enzymes and hormones that make your immune system less effective. This can lead to infections that may cause diabetic wounds to take longer to heal and require medical attention. Your immune system operates on autopilot; in other words, you can’t control it.
You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with proven, achievable lifestyle changes, such as losing a small amount of weight and getting more physically active, even if you’re at high risk. In turn, you can lower your risk for all of the above conditions. Conditions I might add, that 90% of my clients come to me with.
THE SUCCESS PLAN TO REVERSE PREDIABETES:
Keep Weight Under Control and shed the extra pounds as needed.
Eat a clean diet that dumps processed and fried foods, and focuses on fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains and power foods. A quick search will produce a plethora of fantastic food options to include in your daily diet.
Say yes to exercise. Make those coffee dates a walking affair. Grab your java and meet a friend to sip, chat and walk. The fresh air, the interaction with a friend, and benefits of drinking coffee, work together for a better you.
Stop Smoking. Smoking kills and there is no nice way to say this. It’s a ridiculously tough habit to kick, but it can be done, so find a method that works for you. Odds are you’ll fail several times before you succeed but keep focused on the goal: a longer healthier life with your family and friends.
Treat Sleep Apnea – Excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, stop breathing or gasping for air while sleeping, waking up in the morning with a dry mouth or sore throat, morning headache, or difficulty concentrating in the day? All signs of sleep apnea that should be treated. Why? Sleep apnea alters glucose metabolism, promotes insulin resistance, and is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes.
Water – Drink more of it. It truly is the best no-calorie drink in all the world. We can’t exist without it, so make it the first thing you drink in the morning. Hydration is key for our body to function properly.
Seek Help! Work with a nutritionist or fitness trainer, to keep you accountable. There are also tons of free resources online that give you flexibility for a busy schedule or limited budget. Even better, team up with a friend in the same boat and do it together. There’s power and success in numbers. You don’t have to do it on your own.
We can’t change our genes, but we can change our choices of how we live our lives when it comes to diet and exercise. I find a great amount of relief that I am the captain of the way I will age. I’m not only doing it for myself, but for my family and friends. Someday, I intend to be that fit and healthy grandma on the sidelines of every soccer game, who can carry their own chair and take the long walk from the parking lot to the soccer field…and do it will a little pep in my step. Age Well.
Jacqui Clark is a Certified Senior Advisor™ (CSA™), consultant with Living Coastal Senior Resources, and co-founder of Aging Well Partners. She is an industry leading living-and-aging well expert, and a respected communications specialist. She’s lived in San Diego for 35 years, much of that in Carlsbad where she and her husband live with their two daughters. Find Jacqui at www.agingwellpartners.com