November is National Diabetes Month and devoted to raising awareness of all types of diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body is unable to regulate blood glucose (sugar) resulting in high blood glucose. Our bodies rely on the hormone insulin to regulate blood glucose. If blood glucose is not properly regulated, it can cause both short-term, as well as, long-term health complications that range from minor to severe.
Millions of people around the world live with diabetes or know someone living with diabetes. According to the 2018 National Statistics Report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes (9.4% of the population). Roughly 23.1 million people are diagnosed and another 7.2 million people with diabetes are undiagnosed.
Both T1D and T2D have genetic components. However, with T2D there are also lifestyle factors that can help to prevent or delay its development. For example, studies have shown that T2D can be prevented or delayed by losing 5-7% of body weight through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating. For people who have already been diagnosed with diabetes, whether they have T1D or T2D, these same lifestyle changes can make big differences in their diabetes control and the prevention of complications.
Your strategy can be simple. Each day try to fill half your plate with one or a combination of these veggies! How can this help your blood sugar control? These veggies are low in carbohydrate, so they require less insulin to metabolize. They supply your body with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber that we all need to stay healthy AND they add great flavor, texture and beautiful colors to your meal.
For those without diabetes, National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day provide an opportunity to learn more about diabetes and to learn how to provide positive support to someone you know that has diabetes. For those with diabetes, it can be a time to reflect and evaluate was to continue to focus on positive diabetes self-care skills, connect with others who have diabetes or perhaps help educate someone about life with diabetes. There are a variety of community and online networking events, fundraising walks and bike rides in which to participate.