I bet that you are getting tired of hearing about obesity and about diabetes. Well, get used to it. Diabetes kills as many people in the U.S. every year as cancer, yet diabetes is the leading cause in the U.S of vision loss, kidney failure, amputation, heart attack and stroke.
Unfortunately the diabetes epidemic continues to get worse. November has been designated as American Diabetes Month and Nov. 14 as World Diabetes Day, because diabetes is a problem we must all tackle.
About 4,000 people are diagnosed in the U.S. with diabetes every day, which means that approximately one in three of us have or will get diabetes unless steps are taken to fight the disease.
What can be done? Go see your doctor and start taking some pills? That may be necessary for some of us, but definitely not for all.
Teens: Teenagers are not necessarily safe. Learn about healthy eating. Stay active. None of your friends choose to eat healthy and exercise? Help them change, become a trend-setter. Signs of diabetes are now found in many teenagers, even those who are not extremely overweight.
Young couples: It’s a good time to make changes in the way you live. By setting an example, your children will pick up on your healthy habits.
Middle age: If you are older than that, maybe in your 30s and 40s or 50s, get tested. Remember that “borderline” diabetes status — not quite high enough to be called abnormal (fasting blood sugar 100 mg/dl or higher) — does not mean that you are “safe” from the disease. If your fasting blood sugar is in the range 90-99 mg/dl, you have already lost half your insulin function.
Physical activity is recommended in the fight against diabetes. Do something as active as you are able for 30 minutes, five days a week. Get eight hours of sleep every night. Fill half your plate with green vegetables at every meal, which will not leave all that much room for meat and potatoes. Do something; even the smallest steps in the right direction is better than nothing. Make one small change this month, and another next month.
How does one start a healthy habit regime? Make a plan and make it as specific as you can. For example, every weeknight after dinner, take a walk outside for 30 minutes instead of watching TV, or when you go out to eat, bring half the meal home for the next day. Pick something you know you can do and work with a friend or your partner/spouse to make that change together; help each other to take it on.