November is National Diabetes Month, created by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) with the goal of creating a life free of diabetes. Unfortunately, this goal may be very difficult to reach. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) projects that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050. This projection may become a reality if we do not take steps to make positive changes in our daily health habits.
Diabetes is characterized by high levels of blood glucose, or sugar. There are three main types of diabetes; Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is most common. In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells are not receptive to the insulin produced. This is called insulin resistance and may result in fatigue, thirst, weight loss, blurred vision and/or frequent urination. Those diagnosed with diabetes must closely manage blood glucose levels.
If diabetes is not managed, it can lead to life threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage and amputation. With regular checkups, complications can be prevented. If you or a loved-one is at risk for diabetes, visit your physician for a consult.
Did You Know?
- In the last 30 years, the number of people in the United States with diabetes has more than tripled (CDC).
- According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 8.3% of the population (nearly 26 million children and adults) in the United States has diabetes.
- Sugary drinks alone may be to blame for about 1.8 million cases of type 2 diabetes in the United States (BMJ).
Tips for Diabetes Management
- Regular exercise is very beneficial and can lower blood glucose in the short term. Learn how to get started safely!
- Eat a wide variety of foods including: vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, poultry, and fish. It may be helpful to create a daily meal plan with your physician.
- Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their diabetes with healthy eating and exercise. However, your doctor may need to also prescribe oral medications (pills) and/or insulin to help you meet your target blood glucose levels.
- Know about the types of healthcare professionals that are available to you and take advantage of their expertise.
Sources: American Diabetes Association, British Medical Journal, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health, LifeWork Strategies, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.