Celebrating Blood Sugar Balance This Holiday Season

By: Amber Emerson

November 14, 2023

Mother taking her daughter's blood sugar

As the holiday season draws near, we find more reasons to celebrate with loved ones. At Renown Health, we are kicking off the celebrations early this November with American Diabetes Month. Approximately 37 million Americans, including 270,000 Nevadans, have been diagnosed with diabetes with as many as 95% of those diagnosed living with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic health condition that occurs because your body is not using insulin (a hormone made by the pancreas to help cells use the food we eat for energy) as well as it should, resulting in high blood sugar levels. It is important to obtain a diagnosis for T2DM and ensure it is well-controlled to prevent serious health complications. Those with diabetes are at higher risk for blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and amputation.

Tips for Supporting Your Health with Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Know Your Blood Sugar Levels: Work with your healthcare provider to establish target blood sugar levels, and make sure to monitor your levels regularly as advised by your healthcare provider to prevent or delay health complications associated with T2DM.

  2. Focus on Your Plate: Eating foods such as fruits and vegetables, lean meats or plant-based proteins, healthy fats and whole grains supports diabetes management. If choosing healthy foods is difficult due to your busy schedule, cost or simply because you aren’t sure where to start, talk with your healthcare provider who may refer you to a registered dietitian. Registered dietitian nutritionists are certified nutrition specialists who can provide education and practical tips for eating to support your T2DM diagnosis with visits covered by many insurance plans.

  3. Prioritize Staying Active: Engaging in regular exercise is good for everyone, especially those living with T2DM. Exercise helps your cells become more sensitive to insulin and therefore supports healthy blood sugar levels. Always check with your healthcare provider prior to beginning a new exercise plan.

  4. Support Stress Reduction: Stress is unavoidable but can be managed through regular exercise, getting enough quality sleep (7-8 uninterrupted hours per night) and practicing meditation and other mindfulness techniques.

  5. Plan Ahead for Holiday Gatherings: There’s still room for celebration while focusing on blood sugar management. Consider bringing a healthy dish to your gathering, focus on filling your plate with vegetable sides and eating those first and incorporate a family walk after dinner. If traveling, pack nutritious snacks that support your health and keep you full. Lastly, enjoy the special dishes and desserts this season has to offer in single-serving portions.

When Current Treatments Aren’t Enough

To address the needs of community members living with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), the Renown Health Research Office has teamed up with Renown Endocrinology to provide patients who are overweight or obese, are at increased risk for cardiovascular events and whose blood sugar remains elevated despite treatment with certain blood sugar lowering medications to participate in the ACHIEVE-4 study.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity to evaluate an oral GLP-1 analog that can help our patients struggling with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is unique as it has better absorption compared to the first oral medication,” states Dr. Michael Gonzales, Endocrinologist at the Renown Clinical Research Office. “It also affords significant weight loss benefits that are comparable to Ozempic and Mounjaro, so as a pill, it packs a punch against obesity and diabetes.”

This study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of an experimental oral medication, orforglipron, compared with a long-acting injectable medication, insulin glargine, among adults 18 years of age and older who have been diagnosed with T2DM, are overweight or obese and are at increased risk for cardiovascular events.

Renown’s team of expert endocrinologists and researchers are available to join patients with type 2 diabetes in support of their healthcare journey. If you are interested in learning more about this clinical trial option at Renown, talk to your endocrinologist at your next appointment or contact the Research Office at 775-982-3646.

At Renown Health, our goal is to make it easy for patients to access clinical research as a care opportunity where patients can access a variety of standard care treatment options for their health condition or choose to participate in a clinical trial. For more information about clinical trial opportunities available to you or to ask any questions, contact the Renown Research Office at Renown-CRD@renown.org or 775-982-3646.