November is National Diabetes Month and FirstLight Home Care would like to bring your attention to an illness that impacts millions of Americans every day. According to the National Diabetes Association:
- Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
- Another 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The statistic that is most startling is:
- Recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to Stop Diabetes.
Although Type 1 diabetes is not preventable, Type 2 diabetes is. For instance, did you know you can be screened for diabetes after 30 if your family history shows you are at risk? Here’s some ways to help you prevent diabetes:
- Weight. A study done by the Harvard School of Public Health and published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that being overweight and obese was the single most important risk factor that predicted who would develop type 2 diabetes. Maintaining a diet that is low in fat and high in fiber can help prevent Type 2 diabetes. If you are more than 20% over your ideal weight, you are a prime candidate for type 2 diabetes.
- Eat your grains and vegetables. Whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains.
- Exercise. You don’t have to become a marathoner, but moderate exercise – even just 30 minutes/day — has been found to significantly reduce the incidence of Type 2 diabetes. Plus, you’ll be less stressed and feel better.
- Medications. If you fall into a high-risk group for diabetes, there are medications that may help prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes in people with impaired glucose tolerance.
- Cholesterol. Unhealthy cholesterol levels can raise your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- High Blood Pressure. Healthy blood pressure is below 120/80. High blood pressure makes you susceptible to not only diabetes, but heart attack and stroke as well.
Diabetes has reached epic proportions in the last ten years. Taking small steps to change your lifestyle can bring BIG rewards in preventing diabetes.