Thursday, May 29, 2008

Feel Better - Lifeguard On Duty?

If think self care and worklife balance is for wussies, we just met with the American Diabetes Association and learned some good reasons for you to take strong action in support of your well being:

  • Every 21 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes in the US.

  • Diabetes represents 11% of US healthcare expenditures, or $174 Billion dollars

  • And if you're charged with fiscal fitness in your organization, it's important to know that the average employee costs for employees with diabetes are 2.4 times higher than employees without diabetes.

  • By the end of this decade, 1 in 3 employees will have diabetes. If employees are minorities, that number goes up to 1 in 2.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common in the US and is a state that emerges when the systems in your body go out of whack. Basically the sugar in your body stops responding to insulin, the chemical that normally breaks it down. It's that simple. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause many problems:

  • Right away, your cells may be starved for energy which can make you feel depleted and very burnt out. Diabetes-associated depression is not unusual.

  • Over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes (blindness), kidneys, nerves (damage to the central nervous system) or heart.

  • Circulatory issues can impact your sensitivity, reflexes, and strength felt through your limbs. So yes, this is scary - AMPUTATIONS.

Avoiding diabetes means being a good lifeguard, and no one can do this for you. This may require abandoning habits you have held for decades or a lifetime, and adopting new ones. Staying healthy means getting solid guidelines from qualified professionals on adopting sustainable eating, exercise and sleep habits. Asking friends or family will likely not do the trick because often our community holds the very same habits that we do.

If you do get help, just a warning: you're going to hear about are predictable - regular exercise, regular sleep, cut back on alcohol, improve your diet (no more fast food/carry out), etc. But the difference is this - these things aren't just a good IDEA or new age cool. No, forget the Hallmark warm and fuzzy. These actions just may save you a limb, keep you from needing psychoactive drug treatment, and countless other life "inconveniences".

To learn more, pop into the ADA website and check out the risk test and FAQ. As one of the fastest growing diseases and one liked so strongly to behavioral patterns and lifestyle, it's worth knowing if the patterns described sound like you or people you love.

GET THE SCOOP IN PERSON! If you're in the New York area - come to the ADA's summer work/life wellness event. Held in the city on July 16th, Balance Integration will be there on the panel to discuss ways people and companies can adopt sustainable success practices to keep employee and organization functioning! Call or write Dorothy Harper, 212 -725-4925, ext 3414 or Charnee Skeete ,, ext. 3416 for more information.

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