Diabetes in America

Over 30 million Americans have diabetes, and around 20% of those with diabetes don’t even know it. As November is National Diabetes Month, we are going to provide you with correlating information and healthy tips in the hopes that you can lower you and/or your loved ones’ risk of developing this health condition.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

CDC

senior woman getting her blood glucose levels taken

The Different Forms of Diabetes

The most common forms of diabetes are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder which harms and exterminates insulin-making cells in your pancreas. This form of diabetes it most often diagnosed in children and adolescents. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in middle to late adulthood, preventing your body from healthily producing and using insulin. While it is not possible to prevent type 1 diabetes, there are precautionary measures you can take that can help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

healthy foods linked to lowering the risk of diabetes

How Can I Lower My Chances of Developing Type 2 Diabetes?

 

  • Lose weight and keep it off. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight. For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose about 10 to 14 pounds.
  • Move more. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional about which activities are best. Start slowly to build up to your goal.
  • Eat healthy foods most of the time. Eat smaller portions to reduce the amount of calories you eat each day and help you lose weight. Choosing foods with less fat is another way to reduce calories. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Prediabetes

Prediabetes occurs when your blood glucose levels are high, but not yet approaching the levels associated with diabetes. Nearly 90 million American adults have prediabetes, and this health condition has become exceedingly prevalent over the past couple of decades. For those with prediabetes, it is not too late to start making healthy choices to mitigate the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you are worried you may have prediabetes, speaking with your doctor and developing a prevention plan can potentially help you defeat this health condition before it worsens.

 
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