According to the “The United States of Daibetes: Challenges and Opportunities in the Decade Ahead” released this week, it’s estimated that half of all Americans will develop diabetes or prediabetes over the next 10 years. That number could tax the current healthcare system to the tune of about $500 million every year starting in 2020. Folks need to start taking their health more seriously, lose weight, and change their eating habits. If not, the occurrence of diabetes related health conditions like heart disease and kidney disease will rise dramatically. Will you be one of the fifty-percent who get diabetes?
Getting Started Down A Healthier Road
So maybe you’re one of those folks who is carrying around too much weight, is prediabetic, or someone who already has diabetes and you’re wanting to get healthier. That is a good place to start, but you will need to do more. Yes, you’ll need to control your blood sugar through a change in diet, adding some regular exercise, and maybe even start taking some medication. Chances are you just don’t know enough about your current state of health. Do you need medication? Do you need to change some bad habits? How will diabetes affect your overall health? All good questions.
How to Know if You Have or May Develop Diabetes
First of all, it’s important to make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. These symptoms, or possible symptoms are listed here for reference only. If you find that you have one or more of these conditions, talk about it with your doctor. If you are experiencing increased thirst, blurred vision, increased appetite, more frequent urination, or have an unexplained weight loss, these may be symptoms of diabetes. Your specific ethnic background or race may also increase the likelihood that you will develop diabetes. Obesity also increases the risk of diabetes so determine if your weight is appropriate for your height.
Weight Loss, Exercise, and the Connection to Diabetes
Carrying extra weight or being obese is one of the biggest risk factors in developing diabetes, so it’s important that you develop a fitness plan and start learning more about diet recipes in order to lose weight. Start by learning all you can about carbohydrates in the food you eat. Carbs have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels because they are turned quickly into sugar inside your body. Plan on eating more complex carbohydrates like whole-grain breads and raw vegetables. Stick to a well-rounded, balanced diet. Check with a dietician/nutritionist to develop your own customized meal plan that suits your individual nutritional needs.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to prevent or slow the onset of diabetes. Exercise helps your body to maintain and control healthy blood sugar levels. Aerobic exercise like running or working out on a treadmill will have an immediate effect on lowering your blood sugar levels. Weight lifting or strenuous exercise that goes on for a time, like playing basketball or swimming, will lower your blood sugar level hours later. Exercise burns blood sugar stored in the tissue of your muscles and your liver. Exercise over time will almost certainly lower the doses of medication for those with diabetes, and for those who haven’t developed diabetes yet, exercise can keep it away even longer.
Be sure to check the American Diabetes Association website for more information on diet suggestions, weight loss, and additional information on diabetes. The important thing is to assess all of your risk factors like an unhealthy weight level, eating habits, and lack of exercise. Almost one-third of those folks with diabetes don’t even know they have it. There is a good diabetes assessment tool at WebMD to help you determine if you’re at risk for developing diabetes.
This article is for informational purposes only. The information provided herein is of a general nature and should not be substituted as advice from a qualified medical professional.
“7 Principles for Controlling Diabetes for Life”
“Diabetes or prediabetes predicted for half of Americans by 2020”
“Diabetes and Weight Loss”