Fact: One in every Eleven Americans has Diabetes
Fact: Every 23 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Diabetes
Fact: 86 Million Americans are at risk for Developing Type 2 Diabetes
Fact: Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death.
Fact: Type 2 Diabetes is a preventable Disease.
Despite its prevalence, diabetes is an invisible disease. It affects men and women, people young and old, and people of all races, shapes and sizes. Often there are no outward signs from the 29 million Americans who fight this chronic illness every day. That’s why there is a critical need to foster awareness and education while breaking down stereotypes, myths and misunderstandings about this growing public health crisis that affects so many of us.
This is exactly why the American Diabetes Association marks each November as American Diabetes Month: to bring extra attention to the disease and the tens of millions of people affected by it.
So what is it? Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of cases in the United States, and is caused when the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include being overweight, having a family history of diabetes and having diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes). Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose (sugar) with healthy eating and being active; other may require oral medications or insulin, especially as the disease progresses. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as older adults.
The good news is that anyone at risk for type 2 diabetes can lower that risk by more than half with a few simple changes--eating healthy, moving more and losing weight.
Eating well to maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. It can seem hard to make healthy food choices, particularly if you are on a budget and short on time. But there are some simple steps you can take to help you and your family eat healthier.
- Buy leaner meats and low fat dairy products
- Buy whole grain breads and cereals
- Remember fresh fruits and vegetables are usually healthier choices than canned or frozen, but it is better to have canned or frozen then nothing at all.
- Avoid foods that are high in calories and low in vitamins--candy, baked goods, chips and soda.
- Cut down on sodium and sugar by rinsing canned items before eating. Or avoiding packaged foods altogether.
Even if you have never exercised before, you can find ways to add physical activity to your day. You will get benefits even if the activities are not strenuous. Physical activity helps to
- Keep blood glucose, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides under control
- Lower your risk for pre diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
- Relieve Stress
- Strengthen your heart, muscles and bones
- Improve blood circulation
- Keep your body and joints flexible.
Aim for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. If you have not been active in the last 3 months, start out with 10 minutes a day and work you way to more each week.
Even losing as little as 5% of your body weight can help reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes (If you weigh 200 pounds that is only a loss of 10 pounds).
- Cut back on calories and fat
- Be physically active most days of the week
- Eat breakfast daily
- Keep a record of your weight, food and physical activity
- Find a friend who can hold you accountable to your healthy changes.
This month, spread awareness and take a step to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Get more information HERE