Diabetes-Take Steps to Lower Your Risk

What are 1.5 million Americans, and 7,000 Delawareans, diagnosed with every year? Diabetes. That's according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). You may know multiple people who have it—diabetes affects so many people that it has become almost ordinary. But it doesn’t have to be. With a smart, common-sense approach to personal health, anyone can lower their risk.

Healthline, an online provider of health information, offers a few easy everyday suggestions to guard against developing diabetes:

  1. Incorporate regular exercise into your routine, whether that means hitting the gym, going on a walk or playing a pickup game in the park. And avoid sedentary behaviors—like sitting for extended periods watching TV. Get up and get moving!

  2. Make water your go-to drink to stay hydrated and avoid extra sugar.

  3. Watch portion sizes at meals and incorporate high fiber and whole grains into your diet.

Losing 7% of your body weight lowers your risk by more than 50%, according to the ADA. These three easy practices will help you keep your weight in a healthy range—and keep your risk of diabetes low.

If you feel you may be at risk, ask your healthcare provider to test for prediabetes. With prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to diagnose as Type 2 diabetes. Your provider may want to do a test of your A1C levels, an oral glucose tolerance test or plasma glucose tests.

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ll want to gather a team of healthcare experts to help manage your symptoms. This team should include your primary care provider, who knows you best and can direct you to other professionals. You’ll want a dietitian to help you establish healthy eating habits, a pharmacist to help you choose the right medication and a certified diabetes educator to answer any questions you may have. Secondary doctors to have in mind are your eye doctor, dentist and podiatrist; they can watch for any complications diabetes may cause to your vision, oral health or feet.

According to the ADA, diabetes does remain the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. Recognizing symptoms early can reduce the possibility of serious complications. Symptoms can include frequent urination, feeling very thirsty or very hungry although you’ve been eating/hydrating, extreme fatigue, blurry vision, or cuts/bruises that are slow to heal, as well as abnormal weight loss in Type 1 patients and pain or numbness in the hands and feet for Type 2 patients.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, let Saint Francis Healthcare help by testing for diabetes and making sure that your personal health is the best it can be.

Categories: Blog