It may be a little too ironic that American Diabetes Month begins the day following Halloween, but the campaign is well-timed to raise awareness about the prevention and treatment of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 34 million Americans are living with diabetes and among those who have died of COVID-19, 40 percent had the metabolic disease.
Because early detection of diabetes can help prevent serious health events like a stroke, as well as vision problems and kidney disease, it’s important to understand your risk and take healthy steps to prevent or control the disease. In addition to regular health screenings with your physician, you can also take a quick Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test online here.
More than 7 million Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed and 1 in 3 adults are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Having prediabetes puts adults at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. However, the proper lifestyle changes can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems.
Risk Factors for Prediabetes
- Being overweight
- Being 45 years or older
- Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week
- Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The good news is that with a lifestyle change program that includes healthy eating, increased physical activity, and stress management, adults can significantly lower their risk for type 2 diabetes. A prevention program like the one offered by the CDC can help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent and by up to 71 percent if you are over the age of 60. Losing just 5 to 7 percent of your body weight if you are overweight can also help lower your risk.
The takeaway? Donate that leftover candy in honour of Diabetes Month, take a brisk daily 30-minute walk and try to eat healthy foods most of the time. A healthy diet includes plenty of fresh vegetables, low-sugar fruits, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein. Choose water as your beverage of choice and avoid heavily processed foods. A Mediterranean Diet has been shown to be a healthy way of eating to help prevent many chronic illnesses including diabetes and heart disease.