November is National Diabetes Month when we focus on the need to slow the growing epidemic of diabetes and prediabetes. Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood sugar. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.
When a person has diabetes, there body either does not make enough insulin (type 1) or is unable to properly use insulin (type 2). When the body does not have enough insulin or cannot use it properly, blood sugar builds up in the blood.
People with diabetes can develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol and triglycerides (lipids). High blood sugar, particularly when combined with high blood pressure and lipids, can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, amputations of the legs and feet, and even early death.
Many lifestyle habits can affect your health and your risk for diabetes. You can get started on preventing type 2 diabetes in three easy steps:
- Assess where you are and where you need to go with your nutrition habits. Think about how you eat in a typical week.
- Assess where you are and where you need to go with your exercise habits. Think about how much exercise you get in a week.
- If you are overweight, shedding just 5 percent of your weight can help reverse prediabetes. Set a weight loss goal to better prepare yourself to hit the road on your way to wellness.
The CDC offers a practical guide for taking small steps that add up to a healthy lifestyle you can stick with. To get the guide, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevent-type-2/index.html