November is Diabetes Awareness Month

by Heather McMillion, MS, RD, LD, CDCES

Did you know that one in ten Americans has diabetes and more than one in three has prediabetes? And that Alaska Natives are at increased risk for diabetes?

Diabetes is a group of diseases in which the body either cannot produce or respond to the hormone insulin. This results in too much sugar being in the blood. Prediabetes means there is a higher-than-normal blood sugar but not enough to be considered diabetes.

Having diabetes increases risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye disease, and nerve damage. Complications from diabetes can cause amputations and death.

The good news is that prediabetes is reversible and the long-term effects of diabetes can be reduced. How?

1. Losing weight. For people who are overweight or obese, as little as 5% weight loss can improve health outcomes.

2. Improving eating habits. You can improve your blood sugar and some other lab values by eating more healthfully. Check out a recipe for salmon fried rice at the end of this article.

3. Exercise. The recommendation for the general population, and those with diabetes, is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.

4. Routine checkups, Schedule regular medical, dental, and eye check-ups.

5. Medications. Be sure to take medications as prescribed.

If you have diabetes, there are resources that can provide assistance. At the Diabetes Prevention and Control Department at YKHC, you can work with a nurse practitioner, pharmacist, dietitian, nurse, and/or exercise physiologist to improve your health. They can be reached at 907-543-6133.

In addition, the State of Alaska offers free programs for Alaskans with diabetes and prediabetes. These programs offer some free supplies and help with being healthier. Go online at to enroll in services.


Try to make this salmon fried rice as healthy as possible by using brown rice and using little oil. Decrease your salt intake by rinsing your canned vegetables or using fresh or frozen. (Use what you have!) If you have a reduced sodium soy sauce, you can lower your salt intake even more.

Salmon Fried Rice


1 cup rice (Brown rice is the healthier option!)

1 can mixed vegetables

1 tablespoon oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 cup jarred or leftover baked salmon


1. Cook rice according to instructions on packaging.

2. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat.

3. While pan is heating up, drain the can of vegetables and wash under water to remove excess added salt.

4. Add vegetables to the frying pan and heat for 3-5 minutes.

5. Add cooked rice, salmon and soy sauce.

6. Continue cooking for 5-10 minutes.

Heather McMillion, MS, RD, LD, CDCES is a Registered Dietitian/Clinical Diabetes Educator for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation.