Healthy lifestyle can reduce risk, impact of diabetes
Each year, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes.
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States with one in 10 Americans having the disease and another 84 million adults – that’s one in three – at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
November marks National Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness and encourage healthy living.
“Although there isn’t yet a cure for diabetes, a healthy lifestyle as recommended by your doctor can reduce its impact on your life,” said Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County local health authority. “Everyday actions like eating a healthy diet, being physically active and taking prescribed medications help you stay on track.”
This year’s theme is “Everyday Reality.” From what they’ll wear and eat to how they’ll take care of themselves, this year’s theme highlights the day-to-day impact diabetes makes on nearly every decision.
There are three main types of diabetes – type 1, type 2 and gestational. Type 1 accounts for roughly 5 percent of all diagnosed cases in adults and can develop at any age. There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Roughly 95 percent of adults who have diabetes have type 2, which can often be delayed or prevented with lifestyle changes. Type 2 affects a body’s ability to use insulin well and makes it unable to regulate blood sugar levels.
Risk factors include:
- Being overweight
- Being 45 years old or older
- Having a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than three times a week
- Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than nine pounds
Losing weight can cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in half. Those who show any risk signs should contact their doctor to see if they should be tested for diabetes. Race and ethnicity also matter: African Americans, Hispanic/ Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders and some Asian Americans are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Uncontrolled, diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease and other health problems.
“The sooner you find out if you have diabetes, the sooner you can start making health changes that will benefit you now and in the future,” Keiser said.
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – event though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/ bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands/ feet (type 2)
Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes. Diabetes can be managed by working with a health professional, eating healthy and staying active.