Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and another 86 million Americans suffer from a condition called prediabetes, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. About 90 percent of those people living with prediabetes don’t even know they have it. Are you one of them?
March 28 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day®, and Goshen Health encourages you to take the American Diabetes Association diabetes risk assessment to find out your risk for developing the disease. Prediabetes can be reversed with healthy food choices, exercise, medications and other lifestyle factors, so it’s absolutely crucial to know your risk.
Common risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes include increased weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Many of these factors are the result of poor food choices and a sedentary lifestyle. The complications of diabetes can be serious. They include coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, neuropathy, amputations and even death.
If you have prediabetes or are at risk for developing diabetes, you can take these steps to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes:
- Talk to your healthcare provider to determine which lifestyle factors you can change to lower your risk. Continue to see your provider for regular check-ups.
- Manage your weight, particularly in your abdomen, as stored belly fat can increase your body’s resistance to insulin.
- Exercise regularly. This means getting about 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Regular exercise can help you manage your weight, reduce blood glucose levels and improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Eat a balanced, healthy diet, limiting fat and sodium and eating more fruit, vegetables and other high-fiber foods.
- Limit alcohol intake. Too much alcohol can cause weight gain and may increase blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
- Quit smoking. According to the American Diabetes Association, smokers are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-smokers.
- Keep your blood pressure under control. Work with your healthcare provider to keep your blood pressure in check with regular exercise, a healthy diet and medication, if necessary.
If you or someone you love has prediabetes or diabetes, learn more in our ongoing Diabetes Education and Training Programs, where the more informed you are about diabetes, the better you can manage it.