November Is American Diabetes Month
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 37 million American adults have diabetes, and 1 in 5 don’t know they have it.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. Your food is broken down into sugar (glucose) and released into your bloodstream. As your blood sugar goes up, your pancreas releases insulin. This allows the blood sugar to enter your body’s cells for use as energy. A person with diabetes doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t properly use insulin.
There are two main types of diabetes:
• Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, but it can develop at any age.
• Type 2 diabetes occurs when the cells don’t respond adequately to insulin, known as insulin resistance. Of the millions of Americans with diabetes, about 90%-95% of them have Type 2.
It’s also important to note that gestational diabetes can develop in pregnant women who have never had diabetes before. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born; however, babies born to a mother with gestational diabetes could be at a higher risk for health problems.
Reducing Your Risk for Diabetes
While Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented, you can take the following steps to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes:
• Eat a balanced diet. Consume plenty of fiber and whole grains, and understand how your foods affect your blood sugar levels. Limit your alcohol intake as well.
• Stay active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Incorporate both aerobic and resistance training.
• Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, weight control can be an essential part of diabetes prevention.
Take control of your health now during American Diabetes Month, and have your blood sugar levels tested by your doctor.