Today, March 26th is American Diabetes Association Alert Day and we observe Diabetes Alert Day annually to raise awareness of diabetes. It is a one-day “wake-up call” that focuses on the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk. I encourage you to find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes by taking this simple and anonymous 60-second Diabetes Risk Test. If you are at high risk, the next step is to talk with your health care provider about measuring your blood sugar level.
Diabetes by the Numbers
Diabetes is a serious disease that affects nearly 30.3 million Americans. It is estimated that another 84 million American adults have prediabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. While people with type 2 diabetes may exhibit noticeable symptoms of high blood sugar, such as frequent urination, blurred vision and excessive thirst, many people with type 2 diabetes do not show or perhaps recognize warning signs early on. Because managing blood sugar is key in preventing serious complications from diabetes, early identification is critical.
Among the primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes are being overweight, sedentary, over the age of 45 and having a family history of diabetes. African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk, as are women who had gestational diabetes, or who have had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth.
Take Charge of Your Health
Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle change such as physical activity, healthy diet, stress management and adequate sleep. By understanding your risk, you can take the necessary steps to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association considers the risk test a “wake-up” call, but keep in mind that it is not simply that you get the wake-up call, it is what you choose to do with it. Even if you are not at risk of diabetes, you can choose to participate in activities that help keep blood sugars in a healthy range such as:
- regular physical activity
- taking a walk, especially after a meal
- balancing the carbohydrate, protein and fat in your meals
- Including plenty of low carbohydrate vegetables in meals
- Choosing whole foods over highly processed food
- Portion control
- Getting adequate and good quality sleep
Finally, remember we are here to help! If you find you need assistance with establishing new habits or need a “reset”, Hilton Head Health is the ideal healthy vacation to get you heading in the right direction.