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    Assisting diabetics through holiday temptations

     

    The holiday season brings many things—joy, family gatherings, reconnecting with old friends and for some a months-long bump in A1C levels.

    The holidays themselves are traditionally a time for indulgence, but there are also numerous gatherings around those holidays that layer on the temptation. For diabetic patients and their physicians, it can be a difficult time to manage and stay on track.

    An estimated 30.3 million adults in the United States are estimated to have diabetes, including about 7 million who have not been officially diagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For seniors aged 65 and up, diabetes affects about a quarter of the entire age group, CDC notes.Robert Raspa, MD

    There are numerous studies that illustrate the negative impact the holidays can have on a diabetic diet, including one from Diabetic Care that shows the dietary derailment extends long past the new year. The report found that while A1C levels increased during the pre-holiday and holiday season, it wasn’t a significant jump. The bigger problem, however, is that those increases, while small, did not return to baseline in the months that followed, leading researchers to conclude that the poor glycemic control of the holidays is not often reversed afterwards and can lead to substantial cumulative effects.

    Robert Raspa, MD, a family physician in Jacksonville, Florida, said it’s important for patients and physicians to remember that straying from a diet for one day doesn’t have to be the beginning of a new trend.

    “Christmas and Thanksgiving are one day and you can kind of reasonably splurge on those days, but you have to get back to your diet,” Raspa told Medical Economics. “Don’t just give it all up because you fell off the wagon for one day.”

    NEXT: Physicians can offer key support

    Rachael Zimlich, RN
    Rachael Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes regularly for Contemporary Pediatrics, Managed Healthcare ...

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