November is National Diabetes month

Published 4:18 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Anna Parker

November is National Diabetes month. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. If not managed, or managed poorly, it can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems.

Type 2 diabetes is most often seen in people over the age 45, but due to the increase in child obesity rates, more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it. 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes — that’s more than 30 million people! And there are an additional 84 million adults in the United States at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes!

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be hard to identify and can sometimes go unnoticed. That’s why it is important to know your personal risk factors. Risk factors include: being overweight (having a BMI greater than 25), being 45 years or older, having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes, being physically inactive, giving birth to a baby 9lbs or greater or diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or if you are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native. If you want to learn more about your risk for developing type II diabetes, visithttps://www.cdc.gov/prediabetes/takethetest/ .

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 is preventable. That means if you’re at risk or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, there are changes you can make to help delay or lower your risk of developing type II diabetes. There are ten things you can do to help lower your risk!
1. Know your risk! The more you know about your risk of developing type 2 diabetes the better prepared you are to prevent type 2 diabetes.
2. Manage your weight! A BMI of less than 25 is considered healthy. Calculate your BMI at https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html
3. Exercise Regularly! It is suggested you get 150 minutes or more of moderate physical activity per week. Moderate physical activity helps manage weight, reduce blood glucose levels and may also improve blood pressure and cholesterol.
4. Eat a balanced, healthy diet! Reduce the amount of fat in your diet, especially saturated and trans fats. Eat more fruit, vegetables and high fiber foods and cut back on salt.
5. Limit takeout and processed foods! Fast food and processed foods are usually high in salt and fat. It’s best to cook for yourself using fresh ingredients whenever possible!
6. Limit your alcohol intake! Too much alcohol can lead to weight gain and may increase your blood pressure and other levels. Men should have no more than two standard drinks a day and women should have no more than one.
7. Quit Smoking! Smokers are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-smokers.
8. Control Your Blood Pressure! Most people can do this with regular exercise, a balanced diet and by keeping a healthy weight. In some cases, you might need medication prescribed by your doctor.
9. Reduce your risk for heart disease! Diabetes and cardiovascular disease have many risk factors in common, including obesity and physical inactivity.
10. Visit your doctor regularly for checkups! It’s a good idea to regularly check your blood glucose, blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.

Beaufort County Health Department offers programs to help individuals lose weight, lower their A1c’s and prevent type 2 diabetes; as well as programs to help individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes better manage their health. If you want to learn more about diabetes or programs available to you, contact Anna Parker at 252-940-5096 or Anna.Parker@bchd.net.