Diabetes: A Call to Action

Ask yourself, “Do you have prediabetes?”  A family history of diabetes?  Or, do you have risk factors associated for type 2 diabetes?  Signs of diabetes can include: unusual thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, and can progress to blurred vision or frequent infections.  One thing is clear: Diabetes can often be prevented.  Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S., causing blindness, kidney failure, and raises your risk for heart disease, or stroke.  The following are essential factors and tips you can follow to prevent getting diabetes and steps you can take if you don’t have diabetes:

Risk factors for diabetes

You are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Are not physically active
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are African-American, Hispanic, American-Indian or Pacific Islander
  • Are older than 45
  • Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Have a history of heart disease or stroke.

Who should get tested

  • If you are 45 years of age or older.
  • If you are younger than 45, overweight and have one of the above risk factors such as a family history of the disease-get tested now.

If you have the disease

–  If your test results come back positive for diabetes, your doctor will work with you on a treatment plan.  The goal of managing your diabetes is to keep your blood sugar levels in check.  Therefore, your doctor may suggest that other specialists treat you-such as a registered dietician, or a certified diabetes educator.

If you don’t have diabetes

You can definitely take steps to reduce your risk of the disease:

  1. Lose weight – Research shows that reducing your body weight by 5 percent to 10 percent-10 to 20 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds- can cut your diabetes risk in half.
  2. Eat right – Your diet should be rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein sources.
  3. Exercise regularly – Work up to at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.  Always check with your doctor before you increase your activity level.

Indeed, diabetes is a dangerous disease and can be prevented with lifestyle changes and knowing your own family health history.

Credit source: Jenilee Matz, MPH, Staff writer, myOptumHealth.

 

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