November is National Diabetes Month, and it’s important that we all take the opportunity to educate ourselves on the harsh realities of this public health issue. Because the numbers are truly scary: the CDC reports that from 1980 through 2011, the population of Americans with diagnosed diabetes more than tripled (from 5.6 million to 20.9 million). Even more sobering: diabetes is now the seventh leading cause of death in the United States according to the CDC.
Alarming as these statistics are, education and support on the national level – plus proper medication, diet, and exercise on the personal level – can do so much. So read on!
What is diabetes?
The CDC defines diabetes simply as “a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal.” There are three known types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational.
What are the different types?
Type 1 diabetes — also known as juvenile diabetes – occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. People suffering from this type of diabetes will always need to take insulin. Type 1 diabetes typically affects people under 40, and especially teenagers.
Type 2 diabetes describes when cells are resistant to insulin or the body fails to produce the sufficient amount of insulin. Type 2 accounts for roughly 90% of all cases of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women. According to studies, women whose diets are high in cholesterol before they become pregnant run a high risk of developing gestational diabetes.
How to Manage Type 2 Diabetes if Have It (and Prevent It if You Don’t)
If not managed properly, diabetes can lead to limb loss, coma, and even death. But with education and support, those with diabetes can lead long, healthy lives. We are focusing on tips to manage and prevent type 2 diabetes as such cases account for the vast majority of those diagnosed:
1) Feel better. There are many reasons to control your diabetes, but the most simple is often overlooked: you will feel better. With well-controlled diabetes, you will be less tired, have less bladder infections, and experience fewer skin issues.
2) Eat well. Watch what and when you eat. Try to avoid foods that are high in starch, calories, saturated fat, salt, and sugar, and focus instead on high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
3) Exercise often. While you might not feel like getting out and walking, your body will thank you afterwards with a boost of energy. Exercise lowers both blood pressure and blood sugar, which will make you feel better and help control your diabetes.
4) Sleep! Getting a good night’s rest is a great way to help control your sugar levels (and feel great!).
5) Stay informed. Every year, new developments come to light. Make sure to do your own research and regularly consult with your health care provider.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact PromptMD.