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Diabetes and the approaching holiday season.

Where did this year go?

It is so hard to believe that Fall/ Autumn is this month (September 23rd) and the holiday season is right around the corner. The holiday season brings its own share of challenges, especially to persons with diabetes. The combination of cooking, cleaning, shopping and party planning, in addition to ones own daily work and family obligations, can interfere with the ability to maintain good health practices. Here’s a quick overview to keep you healthy and happy this holiday season and beyond.

The cold and flu season – when infuenza activity peaks- is usually between October and the following February. The flu vaccine significantly lowers the risk of getting the influenza virus. Left untreated, this virus can seriously affect the health of a person with diabetes. It adds additional stress on the body, alters blood sugar levels, and raises the risk of serious complications. Be sure and discuss vaccine options with your health care provider.

The cold weather temperatures associated with the holidays often influence a person’s activity level. Less hours of sunshine, combined with colder outdoor temperatures frequently result in less physical activity. Start now to create an exercise routine that works well indoors. Find activities that you enjoy and commit to an ongoing fitness regimen during the holidays. Mall walking, gym visits, aerobic dance classes, yoga, and stairclimbing are all fun ways to stay active. Aim for 150 minutes of activity per week to maximize the health benefits.

Finally, lets focus on the challenge of holiday food and drink. The holidays are abundant with both! Persons with diabetes can enjoy the variety of seasonal items, with preplanning and abit stricter monitoring. By limiting portion sizes, avoiding overeating, and consciously choosing healthier food options, the holidays will be more enjoyable for everyone. Take time now to gather up new recipe ideas, plan menus for meals you are hosting, and consider what healthy option foods you can bring for those party invitations. Accept the fact that your blood sugar may need to be monitored closer during the holidays- think stress, possible unintended weight gain, changes in sleep patterns, and those surprise party gatherings. Acknowledge out loud that you cannot control all factors this season. Step back, take a deep breath, and focus on the positive. You’ll be glad you did.

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