National Diabetes Awareness Month: Prevention Tips
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, a month dedicated to increasing awareness about diabetes by bringing people all around the world together through various initiatives.Each year National Diabetes Month has a theme, promoting various types of diabetes. 2018’s theme is promoting health after gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes often goes away after the baby is born, however the mother and child are both at greater risk of developing diabetes in the future. Knowing the risks and signs of diabetes can go a long way towards reducing your risk.
30.3 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 in 4 of them don’t know they have it. The majority of these cases are Type 2 diabetes, meaning cells fail to respond to insulin.With Type 1, often referred to as juvenile diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Many people are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, including those with a family history or obesity. Risk factors include: genetics, lifestyle and age. Luckily, there are many ways to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Here are some helpful tips to reduce the risk of diabetes:
Maintain a Healthy Weight- Obesity is the number one risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Practicing portion control and eating a healthy diet, along with exercise, can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk for diabetes.
Make sure to move- A sedentary lifestyle is one of the risk factors commonly associated with Type 2 diabetes. If you have to sit for the majority of your workday, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator and make sure to get up and move at least once every two hours.
Drink Water- According to the American Diabetes Association, sodas and other sugary beverages increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. Drinking at least eight 8oz glasses of water a day will keep you hydrated and is a healthy alternative to sugary beverages.
Adjust Your Diet- Eating a low-calorie diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables is a great way to maintain a healthy weight and potentially reduce your risk of diabetes. Include vegetables with every meal and avoid foods high in trans-fat, saturated fat and sugar. Foods high in fat and sugar are closely linked to obesity which increases the risk of diabetes.
Take Steps to Reduce Stress- Stress has been linked to an increase in blood sugar. Try to reduce stress by taking meditation breaks and practicing mindfulness. Taking some time for yourself will help you relax and reduce stress.
See Your Doctor Regularly- It is important to have regular checkups with your doctor to monitor your health and make sure you are not displaying any diabetic symptoms. Type 2 symptoms are often less pronounced than type 1 symptoms, making it important to regularly visit your doctor.
While there are a variety of factors that cause someone to develop diabetes, taking the right steps can go a long way to reduce the risk of diabetes. If you would like to get involved and participate in National Diabetes Month, the American Diabetes Association and JDRF both have ways to get involved.