Dreadful Diabetes!

Diabetes affects an estimated 23.6 million people in the Unites States and is the 7th leading cause of death.  Diabetes lowers life expectancy by up to 15 years and increases the risk of heart disease by 2 to 4 times.  Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower limb amputations, and adult-onset blindness.  In addition to these human costs, the estimated total financial cost of diabetes in the United States in 2007 was $174 billion, which includes the costs of medical care, disability, and premature death.  In Jefferson County, TX the age adjusted diabetes death rate is 26.6 per 100,000.  The good news is that Type 2 diabetes which is the most common type of diabetes, can be prevented or delayed, or managed.

If you have pre-diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  In addition, people with prediabetes also have a higher risk of heart disease.  Progression to diabetes among those with pre-diabetes is not inevitable.  Studies suggest that weight loss and increased physical activity among people with prediabetes prevent or delay diabetes and may return blood glucose levels to normal.

Here are 7 powerful steps you can take to get started today:

MOVE MORE.  Get up, get out and get moving.  Walk, dance, bike ride, swim or play ball with your friends or family.  It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you enjoy it.  Try different things to keep it fun.

MAKE HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES: Eat fiber-rich fruits and vegetables each day.  choose whole grain foods such as whole wheat bread and crackers, oatmeal, brown rice, and cereals.  You still can have foods you enjoy, just eat smaller servings.  Choose water to drink.

TAKE OFF SOME WEIGHT. Once you start eating less and moving more, you will lose wight.  by losing just 10 pounds, you can cut your chances of getting diabetes.

SET GOALS YOU CAN MEET.  Start by making small changes.  Try being active for 15 minutes a day this week.  Then each week add 5 minutes until you build up to at least 30 minutes 5 days a week.  Try to cut 150 calories out of your diet each day (that’s one can of soda!) Slowly reduce your calories over time.  Talk to your health care team about your goals.

RECORD YOUR PROGRESS.  Write down all the things you eat and drink and the number of minutes you are active.  Keeping a diary is one of the best ways to stay focused and reach your goals.

SEEK HELP.  You don’t have to prevent diabetes alone.  Ask your family and frineds to help you out.  Involve them in your activities.  You can help each other move more, eat less, and live a healthy life.  go for a walk together or play a pick-up game of basketball.  Join a support group in your area to help you stay on track.

KEEP AT IT.  Making even small changes is hard in the beginning.  Try to add one new change a week.  if you get off track, start again and keep at it.

Article from the Jefferson County Extension office, Family and Consumer Science November 2016 Newsletter

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