How Nutrition Impacts Diabetic Patients

AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida, Diabetes Care

While most New Year’s resolutions have already become an afterthought, March is still a great time to re-evaluate your health goals and make small improvements to your daily routine. But for many people who struggle with diabetes, eating habits can constantly be front-of-mind.

The Centers for Disease Control released the 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report, which explains new diabetes cases have decreased over the last decade, but newly diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes have significantly increased among US youth. However, behind the numbers and reports, are

AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida, Diabetes Care

real people battling the disease, like Lee Alexander who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just 7 years old.

Lee explained, “I remember not feeling great. I was losing weight and hungry all the time. I was so young when I was diagnosed, but I’ve kept a good attitude ever since. You’re only sick if you have the attitude that you’re sick. Yes, I have a chronic disease that I have to manage and some days I don’t feel good.”

Lee shared that after living with diabetes for almost 45 years, it has completely changed her relationship with food. She loves food but has learned to eat differently through a plant-based diet.

A few months ago, Lee had a health scare when her blood sugar unknowingly dropped in the middle of the night. The next morning, Lee was unresponsive and received glucagon by syringe, an emergency hormone used to stabilize blood sugar levels to wake her up.

She emphasized, “no matter how well you eat, diabetes can be an unpredictable disease.” To help her manage this disease, Lee uses an insulin pump and tests her blood sugar five to six times a day.

Lee and her husband, Steve moved to Florida from Texas over 15 years ago. She has since built a community of support around her at AdventHealth. For three years, Lee has volunteered her time as a Circle of Friends member, which is a local group of women who are dedicated to bringing the community together at Golden Gala to support essential programs and services at AdventHealth.

Lee says that despite her health issues, she is thankful to be where she is today.

“I am fortunate I found AdventHealth and I am so blessed to have all the doctors there. I am so grateful for the care that I get, and I want to help people who don’t have the financial means or who aren’t connected to the right area or person. Knowing that I can help others is my motivation to give back to the community.” Said Lee.

Are you or someone you love suffering from diabetes? Here are some ways you can get involved and learn more about nutrition through the Diabetes Institute:

  1. Give now to support Diabetes research, education and programs.
  2. Gather tools, support and education at AdventHealth Diabetes Institute.
  3. Attend a National Nutrition Month live cooking demonstration. This free demonstration will break down the barriers to eating nutritious meals in addition to discussing the latest in fad diets.
  4. Download five free recipes from our newest Diabetes cookbook: Simply Healthy: The Art of Eating Well, Diabetes Edition cookbook.

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