Spotlight on the Dangers of Diabetes
Five actions you can take to keep blood sugar at healthy levels
Diabetes affects nearly 30 million people in the United States – a stunning 10 percent of the overall population. And recent research reveals that diabetes is now the third leading cause of death, not the seventh, as was previously thought. Perhaps the most concerning statistic is that one in four persons living with diabetes is unaware that they have the disease.
The American Diabetes Association sponsors Diabetes Alert Day to serve as an annual wake-up call. The organization wants to remind Americans about the seriousness and prevalence of diabetes, particularly when the disease is left undiagnosed or untreated. This year, Diabetes Alert Day is Tuesday, March 28.
“The incidence of type 2 diabetes in this country has tripled in the last twenty years,” said Dr. Shari Anthony, M.D., Family Medicine. “The adoption of sugary diets and sedentary lifestyles has caused the disease to reach epidemic proportions. On the positive side, this condition doesn’t have to be a death sentence. It’s almost always avoidable, and even reversible, with serious lifestyle changes.”
Researchers estimate that, if current trends continue, one in three Americans will have diabetes by the year 2050. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to kidney failure, limb amputations, blindness, and even death. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical to preventing irreversible damage to your health and longevity, so awareness and access to care are the key areas of focus.
Here are the top five ways to keep blood sugar at healthy levels, and to keep type 2 diabetes from impacting you and your loved ones:
- Get more physical activity. You don’t have to run marathons for physical activity to add years to your life. Just 30 minutes of intentional activity, at least five times per week, can make a huge difference for insulin resistance. A mix of aerobic, heart-pumping activity with some resistance training is the best plan.
- Get plenty of fiber. Fiber has many benefits, including improving blood sugar management. Sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.
- Choose whole grains. Make sure at least half of your grain intake is whole grains. Whole grains are prepared as close to the source from the Earth as possible. Look for labels that say “whole grains,” and opt for organic when possible.
- Lose a little weight. Losing even 5 or 10 pounds appears to have an impact on reducing blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Don’t focus on huge goals – celebrate the small wins!
- Skip the fad diets. Yo-yo dieting and fad diets are hard on the heart, the mind, and your organs. Just make good, whole food choices 80% of the time, and your body will work the way it was designed.
If you have a family history of diabetes, you are at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes yourself. Also, the condition is more common in African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders. Above-average body weight increases diabetes risk for people of all backgrounds.
Only your doctor can tell for sure if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic. As part of your annual health physical, be sure to talk to your doctor about the results of your fasting blood sugar and A1C tests. If your numbers are heading in the wrong direction, you can act quickly to get back on the right track.
If you need assistance in diagnosing or managing your metabolic health, or you just need to be connected with a primary care physician, contact Bayfront Health Medical Group 844-4BH-BHMG (844-424-2464)