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Published On: Sat, Oct 11th, 2014

Taking Even The Smallest Steps Can Help When Managing Diabetes

Getting a Diabetes diagnosis can really turn your world upside down because choosing to stay healthy is going to take some commitment. As a Latino, I think it is important that a heath provider have insight on his patient’s culture to really speak to them in a way that will gain commitment and ensure success. When I was diagnosed, I was already surrounded by an amazing group of people from a Latino initiatives program by one of the leaders in Diabetes prevention. Being in that circle allowed me a deeper understanding of how Diabetes was really going to impact me in real life.

In the spirit of paying it forward, I teamed up with our friends at Colgate Total  who connected me with celebrity dentist Dr. Karent Sierra who will share some valuable insight on how to manage diabetes from a Latino perspective.

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Photo - Karent Sierra

Here are 5 Small Steps You Can Take To Better Manage Your Diabetes!

by Dr. Karent Sierra

 

 As a dentist and a Latina I’m especially aware of how diabetes affects our community. Nearly 13% of Hispanic adults in the U.S. live with this disease, compared to 7.6 percent of non-Hispanic whites. As a dental professional, it is my responsibility to raise awareness of the often overlooked link between oral health and diabetes. Below are some of my recommend small steps that can make a big difference in your health as you manage daily life with diabetes.

1. Lighten Your Latin Dishes

As a Colombian, I love empanadas and buñuelos that are often high in calories and fat. But that doesn’t mean you have to ban them from your diet! Just be careful with how you prepare your dishes by limiting the amount of salt, grilling your meat instead of frying and also including high-fiber foods such as whole grains, beans and legumes.

2. Prioritize Oral Health

Most people with diabetes don’t realize how important proper oral hygiene is. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people living with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease. Colgate Total is the only FDA-approved toothpaste to prevent gingivitis, the most common form of gum disease and clinical studies have shown that brushing with Total twice a day can improve gum health in as little as four weeks. Visit OralHealthandDiabetes.com to learn more about the connection or SaludOralyDiabetes.com in Spanish.

3. Manage Your Stress

Did you know that stress can lead to an increase in appetite? When tension and anxiety rise, we can end up eating more than usual, which could lead to weight gain. Keep stress in check by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, seeking social support, and practicing relaxation techniques like yoga or tai-chi.

4. Visit Me! (Or Any Professional Dentist)

It’s vital for people with diabetes to take good care of their teeth and gums by getting a regular dental checkup every six months. If you don’t have a dentist or dental insurance, a dental school in your area can be a great resource. Most have clinics where the cost is often lower than visiting a private-practice dentist.

5. Get Creative with Your Exercises

Combine exercise with social activities such as taking a salsa class or playing soccer. But be careful not to overdo it since workouts can lower blood sugar too much, causing hypoglycemia. It’s important to eat before working out, keep hydrated and check your blood sugar levels before, during and after physical activities. Aim for at least 30 minutes five days of the week.

 

karensierraAbout Dr. Karent Sierra

Born in New York City and raised in South Florida, Dr. Karent Sierra is a well-known Miami dentist who firmly believes that improving smiles can change lives. Always one to keep her Colombian heritage alive, Dr. Sierra is fully bilingual and has appeared on many Spanish-language TV shows. She is a former cast member of “The Real Housewives of Miami and has been a recurring guest on the hit TV show “The Doctors.”

Dr. Sierra started the foundation Sharing Smiles in 2010 with the mission of offering free dentistry to underprivileged children, locally and internationally. In other philanthropic efforts, she worked alongside Prints of Hope spending two weeks in Africa supporting the organization’s efforts on creating a significant change in underprivileged communities around the world.

Disclosure: This post is part of a paid campaign with Colgate Total promoting better oral health. All opinions are my own.

Taking Even The Smallest Steps Can Help When Managing Diabetes