During this month of diabetes awareness, take a minute to learn the facts
about diabetes. Did you know?
o 30 million children and adults in the US have diabetes and 86 million Americans have prediabetes and thus are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
o There are two different types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes generally occurs in childhood and is thought to be genetic while Type 2 diabetes is usually developed later in life. Type 2 diabetes is caused when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells in your body do not recognize the insulin produced.
Because diabetes affects so many, it’s important to be familiar with the risk factors and symptoms of the disease. Type 2 diabetes typically occurs in older adults, although more cases are being seen in adolescents and young adults.
Diabetes symptoms vary, but can include: increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing sores, high blood pressure, frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal or bladder infections.
Type 2 diabetes is often preventable. You can decrease your risk by following the guidelines below.
o Make healthy choices. Choose foods low in fat and calories. The majority of your diet should come from fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
o Get plenty of fiber. Fiber can reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control, lowers your risk of heart disease, and promotes weight loss by helping you feel full. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
o Get more physical activity. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Exercising less than three times a week may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. If you can’t fit 30 minutes into your day, break it up into 10 minute sessions throughout the day.
o Lose excess weight. Losing even 5 percent of your body weight may reduce the risk of diabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
If you are older than age 45 the American Diabetes Association (ADA) advises you to receive an initial blood sugar screening, and then, if the results are normal, to be screened every three years thereafter. Others with a body mass index higher than 25, regardless of age, and who have additional risk factors, such as high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol, a history of heart disease, or have a close relative with diabetes should be screened as well.
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors, screening and prevention.