According to the National Institutes
of Health, nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes, and another 41 million have pre-diabetes. If you are at risk or have pre-diabetes, you can take small steps to prevent this disease. It is well known that the
best ways to prevent type 2 diabetes is to avoid being overweight and lead a healthy lifestyle which includes proper nutrition
Diabetes is a serious disease, which
can be successfully managed. Medical Doctors make the diagnosis by reviewing
symptoms and measuring the glucose level of a person’s blood. The condition
can be managed through proper nutrition and exercise in some instances, by medication, or a combination of both. The good news is, if you develop diabetes, it is manageable, and with proper nutrition and attention, serious
complications can be prevented or delayed.
Type 2 Diabetes can be hereditary, but
other factors such as being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of developing diabetes even
in people without a family history. People with diabetes either do not produce
enough insulin or their body doesn’t use the insulin properly, sometimes called insulin resistance. Often, people with type 2 diabetes have few or no symptoms, and many cases go undetected while the health
of body systems decline. For some people, feeling tired or run down is their
only symptom. While other people experience increased thirst, frequent urination,
skin problems, blurred vision, slow healing or unintentional weight loss. When
the body fails to remove enough glucose from the blood stream glucose levels become high and can lead to other problems if
diabetes is not properly treated. High blood sugar can damage eyes, kidneys,
and the nervous system. It can also contribute to cardiovascular disease, poor
blood circulation which can result in amputations, heart disease and stroke.
You Can Do Now
If you are overweight or obese, choose
sensible ways to get in shape: Avoid crash diets. Instead, eat less of the foods you usually have. Limit the amount of fat
you eat. Increase your physical activity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Set
a reasonable goal, such as trimming 1 pound a week. Aim for a long-term goal of trimming 5 to 7 percent of your total body
Food Choices Most of the Time
What you eat has a big impact on your
health. By making wise food choices, you can help control your body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- Take a hard look at the serving sizes of the foods you
eat. Reduce serving sizes of main courses (such as meat), desserts, and foods high in fat. Increase the amount of fruits and
- Limit your fat intake to about 25 percent of your total
calories. For example, if your food choices add up to about 2,000 calories a day, try to eat no more than 56 grams of fat.
Your doctor or a dietitian can help you figure out how much fat to have. You can check food labels for fat content too.
- Keep a food and exercise log. Write down what you eat,
how much you exercise—anything that helps to keep you on track.
- When you meet your goal, reward yourself with a nonfood
item or activity, like watching a movie.
- Keep a positive attitude, if old eating patterns return, you
can get yourself back on track quickly, by avoiding "all or nothing" thinking.