National Diabetes Awareness Month: Take 5 to Learn 5 Ways to Prevent Diabetes
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. How aware are you? No worries. Get in the know! Take just 5 minutes to read these 5 simple steps to diabetes prevention.
1. Shake your family tree & see what falls out
Knowing if you have a family history is half the battle. There are two types of Diabetes – Type 1 (adolescent onset) and Type 2 (adult onset) so it’s important to know which if either is in your family genes.
2. Get screened
25.8 million children & adults in the U.S. have diabetes. Of that 18.8 million are diagnosed and 7 million are UNdiagnosed. And even more alarming is that 79 million have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a critical stage. At this point you are toggling a fine line BUT if you find out early enough, you DO have the opportunity to turn things around for the better.
3. Work it out
You’d be surprised at how much we don’t exercise. Back in the days you had to drag kids in from outside and now you can barely peel them away from their laptops. A little bit of exercise goes a long way and it can make or break a potential diagnosis of diabetes. We all know that our cells and muscles need energy (sugar) to work. In diabetes it’s the excess and unused sugar that floats around in our blood vessels that is harmful. But with moderate exercise, muscles take up glucose (sugar) at up to 20 times the normal rate therefore helping to lower blood sugar levels.
4. Eat a little more of this… and a little less of that
You’d be surprised how a simple diet change can make a huge difference for the body. A little more veggies and little less rice. A little more water and a little less juice. Eat more fresh veggies & fruits, whole grains, baked lean meats and yogurt and LESS chips, cookies, donuts, and fried greasy foods. Altering your diet cannot only offset a diagnosis of diabetes but also help you to lose a few extra pounds that can also decrease your risk of getting diabetes. Being overweight is another risk factor for diabetes.
5. “Woo Sah” a lot more
Stress whether its physical like an injury or mental (both good or bad) from a wedding, job promotion or a bad break up –it can cause the body to feel like it’s under attack. When that happens the body prepares by initiating the “fight or flight” syndrome. The heart rate goes up, you breath faster, pupils dilate, but most importantly hormones go raging trying to make fat and glucose (sugar) available as a source of energy to your body’s cells resulting in high blood sugar levels. This is great for intermittent true threats but not for everyday all day. If you’re worrying about a lot, not only will your stress levels be high but also so will your blood sugars. Meditate more and be realistic with your goals and workload knowing that if you don’t, you could be getting a lot more than what you bargained for.
Stay tuned for more healthy helpful information on Diabetes awareness, prevention and management throughout the month. Follow me on twitter @AskNurseAlice and listen to my weekly radio segment, “Healthy Living with Nurse Alice” on The Gospel 760AM Thursdays 8:25am CST.