Diabetes Month: Three ways to reduce your risk

Monday, November 9, 2009 17:46
Comments Off on Diabetes Month: Three ways to reduce your risk

MPj01754320000[1] November is American Diabetes Month, an annual observation that "shines a spotlight on a serious disease that leads to potentially life-threatening
complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness,
and amputation."

I'm  not sure a spotlight is enough: We need a fire extinguisher.  The number of adults (and children!) with Type 2 diabetes is growing at a sickening pace–and with that, the amount of money being spent to treat the disease and its complications, to say nothing of the human costs.

Diabetes: more than just an expensive nuisance

Too many people tend to think of diabetes as a relatively minor thing–an inconvenience, a hassle, an expense. It's much more than that. Diabetes kills almost 6,000 Americans every week. Thousands more lose limbs…or their eyesight.  And if current trends continue, this is the future faced by one out of every three American children.

Diabetes is highly preventable

Here's the most frustrating thing about this: The vast majority of Type 2 diabetes could be prevented. There is a genetic component, but Type 2 diabetes is by-and-large what we call a "lifestyle" disease. In other words, it's a disease that most people could avoid by making healthier choices.

Regardless of your family history, you can vastly reduce your risk of diabetes by doing three simple things.

1. Lose weight if you need to.   Being overweight is a primary risk factor for developing diabetes and one that you can control.  Losing even 10% of your current body weight dramatically reduces your risk of developing diabetes. 

2. Get moving.  Regular exercise improves insulin function, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and reduces your risk of diabetes. It can be as simple as taking a brisk 30-minute walk every day.

3. Eat a low-glycemic diet.  A diet high in sugary foods, beverages, and refined carbohydrates increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by over-working your insulin receptors and pancreas.  Trade the sweets and starches for whole fruits and vegetables, protein foods, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats and your risk plummets.

It's never too late to prevent Type 2 diabetes

If you already have Type 2 diabetes, the same things that help prevent Type 2 diabetes can help you treat and even reverse the disease.

Learn more:

Diabetes Risk Calculator

What's a Low-Glycemic Diet?

Four Weeks to a Fitter You

Nutrition Data Type 2 Diabetes Resource Center

Nutrition Data Dieting & Weight Loss Resource Center

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