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Mark Brock, RN and Wellness Coach for Marshall Medical Centers, used plain language and simple demonstrations to teach seniors that sugar is sweet only when swallowed in small amounts.

Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 01:00 PM

Read labels, drink water, exercise to prevent diabetes from controlling you

A diabetes education was the reward for a record crowd attending the GoldCare 55+ Lunch N’ learn for November, which is National Diabetes Awareness Month.

Mark Brock, RN and Wellness Coach for Marshall Medical Centers, used plain language and simple demonstrations to teach seniors that sugar is sweet only when swallowed in small amounts.

To illustrate, he poured a bag of sugar into a cup until it overflowed. He kept pouring and pouring to demonstrate how cells deal with an excess of sugar in the bloodstream.

“The cell is overloaded and cannot take any more,” he said. “The excess is floating in our blood because it has no place to go. And because sugar is rough, it acts like sandpaper, chafing away at our blood vessels.”

Brock defined diabetes as a chronic multisystem disease related to either the body’s inability to produce insulin (Type 1 Diabetes) or abnormal or impaired insulin production (Type 2 Diabetes). The result is blood glucose levels higher than normal and not enough or no insulin to allow glucose into the cells to be used as energy.
Often, individuals will consume too many sugar-loaded drinks and sweet snacks, he said. A healthy daily dose of sugar for women is 25 grams – or 6 teaspoons – and for men 38 grams – or 9 teaspoons, meaning people often get their daily allotment of sugar from one drink or snack.
“This is not as healthy as you may have believed,” Brock warned, holding up a small bottle of orange juice.  He pointed out that the sugar content in orange juice is often equivalent to the sugar content in candies or snacks.  Start reading your labels. Look at the ingredient list in the things you eat. Keep your sugar level below those thresholds.”
Brock recommended consuming lean protein, eating fruit instead of drinking it and to make water the drink of choice. And he urged everyone – no matter their age – to exercise.
“The point of working out is to build muscle and improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system” he said. “Seniors need to exercise more.  The more muscle you have will make you feel good and make your joints strong.”

Don’t start by getting off the couch and trying to run a marathon, he warned.
“Go slow,” he advised. “Find what you can do and do that.”

If you are 55 or older and would like to take advantage of all the benefits Marshall Medical Centers’ GoldCare 55+ program has to offer, visit mmcenters.com where you can download a membership application or pick one up in the lobby of Marshall North or South, or email peggy.hudson@mmcenters.com. For information call (256)571-8025 or (256)753-8025 for Arab area residents. 

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