November is American Diabetes Month and people across the country are raising their voice, marking their fist and sharing their image across social media with #CountMeInADA. There are plenty of ways that you can support American Diabetes Month whether you are managing diabetes yourself or know someone that is. With one in ten people in the United States affected with this disease, chances are you know someone living with diabetes.
Diabetes affects more than 30 million people in the United States with an additional 84 million adults at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is rare and occurs in only about 5% of the people diagnosed with diabetes, affecting children and adolescents with symptoms typically occurring before the age of twenty. Type 2 diabetes occurs later in life when the body does not produce enough insulin or does not respond to insulin produced, causing elevated sugar levels in the blood stream.
Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy and affects nearly 10% of all pregnancies in the U.S. There is a lot of support for women with gestational diabetes and by working with their doctor, they can have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.
What is Prediabetes?
There is an alarming trend of increased obesity in children, which contributes to approximately 84 million Americans over the age of twenty with prediabetes. Prediabetes can be diagnosed with blood tests and is a warning sign for people to take action. Diabetes leads to serious health conditions if not well controlled and is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States.
Diabetes Leads to Serious Health Conditions
Diabetes is a leading cause of serious health conditions such as:
- Eye disease – diabetics are at an increased risk of eye disease and blindness without proper treatment. It is extremely important for diabetics to have their eyes checked regularly.
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) – PAD develops when plaque builds up in arteries and reduces blood flow to extremities like the legs and feet. A daily walk will increase blood flow to the legs and improve symptoms of leg pain.
- Peripheral neuropathy – both PAD and peripheral neuropathy may cause foot ulcers, although neuropathy causes a loss of feeling in the feet. Patients do not feel pain in the feet or notice foot sores until they become dangerous. Diabetics with peripheral neuropathy should regularly see a podiatrist, an amputation prevention team and a vascular surgeon.
- Heart disease – diabetics are at an increased risk of developing heart disease, having a heart attack or stroke.
- Renovascular disease and kidney failure – diabetes affects the kidneys and can lead to kidney failure in advanced stages. Renovascular disease may be asymptomatic until reaching irreversible stages.
Given the many serious health complications caused from diabetes, it is extremely important to do whatever you can to prevent diabetes and to help your loved ones with diabetes prevent serious health complications. Learn more about the symptoms of diabetes and read on to learn how to prevent diabetes with healthy habits.
Prevent Diabetes with Healthy Habits
The good news is that there are many things that you can do to prevent the progression of this disease and stave off serious health complications and chronic illnesses. Caretakers of people with diabetes play a vital role in managing care and contributing to healthy habits for a healthier, longer life.
Diet and exercise are the most important things that you can do to manage diabetes and even prevent the progression of prediabetes. In fact, diet and exercise can reduce the risk of people with prediabetes developing diabetes by over 50%. Here are some of the most important things that will ward off diabetes and maintain healthy blood glucose levels:
- Get active –mild to moderate exercise such as taking a brisk walk a few times a week will help the body become more receptive to insulin and can help to prevent diabetes.
- Eat a healthy diet – eating healthy foods is extremely important in preventing diabetes. By eating a low calorie diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding fats and sugar, you can prevent diabetes or better manage diabetes by preventing further complications. Here are some tips to surviving the holidays with diabetes from the Diabetes Food Hub.
- Keep regular checkups – see your physician for regular checkups to have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your doctor and don’t forget to mention any changes in vision.
Learn more about diabetes, how to prevent it and take a quick 60-second survey to assess your risk of developing diabetes. Whether diagnosed with diabetes, caring for someone with diabetes or just wanting to learn more about it, you can make a difference by getting involved.
With a new diagnosis every 21 seconds and more deaths caused by diabetes than by AIDS and breast cancer combined, diabetes is more than just a disease, it’s an epidemic. Get involved, learn more and do what you can to prevent diabetes and educate those around you on how to prevent this dangerous, deadly disease.
Greater Waterbury Imaging Center is committed to transforming lives through remarkable MR imaging services with excellent patient care. We care about your health and wellness and encourage you to take steps now to prevent diabetes in the future. Contact us with any questions and for all your MR imaging needs.