Diabetes Doesn’t Have to Put You on the Sidelines

Maria Wright, MDContributed by Maria Wright, MD, NCMP

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you likely know that it can sometimes bring additional complications like heart problems, high blood pressure, blindness and kidney disease but I want you to know that you are not powerless to diabetes. There is much that you and your doctor can do to help you live an active, full and rewarding life!

Reducing diabetes complications

According to the 20-year study Diabetes Care in General Practice,  a good way to reduce your chance of developing diabetes-related complications is for you and your doctor to work together to set personal goals when it comes to managing things like blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and weight. When this was done with study participants, type 2 diabetes patients actually reduced their risk of complications by 20 percent. In fact, one-third of the patients were able to reduce blood sugar simply by changing food habits and exercising more, delaying their need for medication up to six years.

Are you at risk for developing diabetes?

An estimated 41 million people ages 40-74 have prediabetes. This means their blood glucose level is higher than normal but not yet at the level of a diabetes diagnosis. Studies show that most people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes in 10 years. Those at greatest risk for developing diabetes include those who: are physically inactive, have a family history of the disease, are of certain ethnic populations (Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos and American Indians), have had gestational diabetes, have a history of polycystic ovary syndrome, and have high blood pressure. Take action now to prevent diabetes! It’s as easy as improving your eating habits and getting regular physical activity.

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