ON FIRST REACTION, the diagnosis of diabetes may hit like a death sentence. It doesn’t
have to be one.
A book, Know Your Numbers, Outlive
Your Diabetes: 5 Essential Health Factors You
Can Master to Enjoy a Long and Healthy Life
(Avalon Publishing Group, 2007), by Richard
Jackson, M.D., and Amy Tenderich, advocates
a do-it-yourself approach. The book offers
easy-to-understand information, tables, anecdotes and action plans aimed mainly at people with Type 2 diabetes.
“Think of yourself and your diabetes as a
small business,” advises Tenderich, a journalist
and Costco member who was diagnosed with
Type 1 diabetes in 2003. “You manage it; your
health-care providers are your consultants.”
Tenderich and Jackson, director of outreach at the Joslin Diabetes Center and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical
School, encourage diabetics to know the key
numbers from various simple blood tests and
other noninvasive tests to monitor their
health. The five essential health factors are:
MOST PEOPLE ARE aware of the need to
protect their skin from sun exposure and
ultraviolet (UV) light. When it comes to their
eyes, however, many don’t see the connection.
When sunglasses shade a person’s eyes,
the iris opens and lets in light to compensate.
Poorly made sunglasses allow UV rays to
enter the eyes, which can damage the retina
and cause cataracts and other ocular changes.
Good sunglasses eliminate exposure to
UV rays completely, and offer features such
as polarization and photochromic technology, adjusting to whatever light conditions
come your way.
Consequently, it is important to check for
certain features. Be sure to read the label or
A1C. This reflects average blood
glucose values over three months. It
should be checked every three months.
Blood pressure. This helps to assess a
potential threat to cardiovascular health and
should be checked at least every six months.
Lipids. LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL
(good) cholesterol and triglycerides are different kinds of fats that circulate in blood. Tests
can detect increased risk of heart disease and
strokes. Annual testing is recommended.
Microalbumin. The test detects small
amounts of the protein albumin, which leaks
into urine when the kidneys are being damaged. Annual testing is recommended.
Eye exam. Diabetes, if not managed
properly, can lead to eye damage or blindness.
Having eye health assessed by an ophthalmologist can catch potential problems in time to
correct them. Annual testing is recommended.
And, of course, there are the blood glucose monitors that diabetics are advised to
keep with them at all times.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment.
“The numbers on
the tests will indicate
where you need to
readjust your diet
She stresses, “There is no need to fear
diabetes. If caught early, the damage the disease can cause may be reversed or avoided
are worth a little extra
look for the ANSI mark, which shows that
the glasses are in voluntary compliance with
the American National Standards Institute,
and ask about these features.
Lenses. Poorly made lenses can have waves
or blemishes that cause distortion and haziness.
Look for optical plastic called CR39 or glass
lenses. It’s important that the surface of a glass
lens be smooth and finely polished. Plastic
lenses should be precision cast or molded.
Lens darkness. For outdoor sports such
as cycling and skiing, you’ll want a lens that
blocks up to 97 percent of light. For leisure
wear or driving, a lens that absorbs 70 to 90
percent of light may be fine. Lenses that block
less than 60 percent of light should be used
only as a fashion accessory, as they offer only
The Costco Connection
• Costco offers numerous products for diabetics, including glucose monitors and
strips, supplements and lotion.
• Also, Costco members will find high-quality sunglasses from Kirkland Signature™,
Armani, Kenneth Cole, Escada, Ralph
Lauren, Prada, Ray-Ban, Serengeti and others at their local Costco and on costco.com.
Special coatings. Anti-reflective, waterproof, mirror and scratch-resistant coatings
improve the functionality of sunglasses. Many
good-quality sunglasses do include some of
these features, as they offer better protection,
but you may have to pay extra for them.
Frame. Frames are a huge factor in cost
and durability. Most of the cheaper sunglasses use simple plastic or wire frames,
while well-known brands use high-strength,
lightweight, fortified nylon or metal frames
that are made to last.
Polarization. When normal parallel rays
of light bounce off smooth horizontal surfaces such as windshields, water or ice,
chaotic and random light waves are produced. These reflected light waves create glare
that is especially irritating and fatiguing to
the eyes. Working almost like microscopic
Venetian blinds, the polarizing filters in good
sunglasses organize random light waves to
eliminate glare and reduce eye fatigue.
Photochromic technology. Sunglasses
that have this feature automatically adjust to
changing light conditions, getting darker in
bright sunlight and lighter as the sky gets
darker. So no matter what the conditions,
you’re always exposed to the correct amount
of light.—T. Foster Jones