So many Americans are being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes or pre-diabetes. Already 23 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes and an estimated 7 million Americans aren’t even aware they have Type 2 Diabetes. Even more alarming is the 86 million Americans that have pre-diabetes, one step away from developing Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a serious disease and complications from having diabetes can lead to major health problems including: vision problems, heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, and even nerve damage.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
The American Diabetes Association describe Type 2 diabetes as your body not using insulin properly. Sugar or glucose builds up in your blood and you have high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. At first your body produces more insulin to try to get this extra sugar (glucose) into your cells and out of your blood. But then the pancreas can’t keep up and can’t make enough insulin so your blood sugar levels (glucose) rise above normal.
How can you prevent Type 2 Diabetes?
You can’t control or age or genetics and genes can influence who gets diabetes. But you can control 3 important risk factors: diet, exercise and weight.
Move more, sit less: Being active helps you control your weight, and helps the sugar (glucose) get into your cells. According to WebMD: Exercising 30 minutes and day, 5 days a week can help prevent Type 2 diabetes. If you have a desk job, stand up when taking a phone call, take breaks and walk around, instead of sending an email to a co-worker, go see them. Take the stairs and not the elevator.
Whole Grains – so many Americans aren’t eating any whole grains, yet MyPlate says that at least half the grains you eat each day should be whole grains. Many Americans are confused as to what foods are whole grains. Go to Tips to help you eat whole grains for some easy ways to add whole grains to your day.
Ban the sugary drinks – sugary sodas, Hi-C, Capri Sun, Sunny D, lemonade, sweetened ice tea – so many drinks are loaded with sugar and provide few other nutrients. And sugary drinks increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Switch to water, unsweetened ice tea, unsweetened coffee.
Focus on healthy fats – Eat less of the unhealthy fats in whole milk, cheese, red meat, butter. Eat more healthy fats in 2%, 1% or nonfat milk, low fat yogurt, low fat cheese, lean meat or fish and olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados.
Weight Control – being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association notes: Losing weight can help prevent and manage high blood sugar. And you don’t have to lose a lot of weight. Even losing 10-15 pounds can make a big difference.
Get More Information: There are many resources available to help prevent or control Type 2 diabetes. The YMCA offers the Y-Change Diabetes Prevention Program, an 8 week course covering diet, exercise and life-style changes. The American Diabetes Association offers a wealth of information about Type 2 diabetes and recommends even small steps that can be taken to lower one’s risk. They also offer a free 12 month program for Living with Type 2 Diabetes.
Sources: Type 2 Diabetes, WebMD, Tips to help you eat whole grains, American Diabetes Association Image source: Diabetes