Concerned you might have diabetes or prediabetes? Or you’re newly diagnosed with diabetes?
You’re not alone.
Diabetes is growing at an epidemic rate in the United States. More than 34 million
Americans now have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As with all diseases, getting diagnosed when diabetes is in its early stages is the best way to head off complications and minimize the disease’s impact on your body.
At risk for diabetes?
The first step is to understand your risk for diabetes. The American Diabetes Association offers a 60-second Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test https://www.diabetes.org/risk-test
It’s also important to note that your chances of having prediabetes are higher if you:
- Are 45 or older
- Are Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander
- Have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
- Are overweight
- Are physically inactive
- Have high blood pressure or take medicine for high blood pressure
- Have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
- Had diabetes during pregnancy
- Have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome
You Can Make a Difference
The good news is you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by making small changes NOW to the way you eat, increasing your physical activity or getting early treatment.
Newly Diagnosed with Diabetes?
If you have been recently diagnosed, here are eight important things you can do:
- Maintain regular contact with your healthcare provider, so together you can establish the most appropriate course of action and monitor your response to lifestyle changes.
- Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and lean protein. Braise, bake, or grill meats, rather than fry them, and include whole wheat, grains, and beans in your diet.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day to help keep glucose levels stable. Never miss a meal, as this can cause low blood sugar, a potentially dangerous complication.
- Exercise for 30 minutes at least five times per week. This helps lower blood sugar, and it allows your body to better use the insulin you have.
- If you need to lose weight, begin slowly. Even losing 10-15 pounds will help. Losing weight can improve blood sugar levels and your blood pressure, as well as lower cholesterol.
- Stay hydrated to regularly flush out your system. Aim for half of your body weight in ounces of water each day (ex/150 pounds = 75 ounces water per day). Unsweetened teas are also a good choice, especially green teas.
- Limit alcohol consumption, as it is very high in sugar. If you smoke, you will need to stop. Talk with your healthcare provider about the best plan for you.
- While you will need to carefully monitor your diet, pay close attention to carbohydrates. The balance between the carbs you eat and the insulin your body produces makes a significant difference in your blood sugar levels.
- Watch any food sensitivities you may have, like wheat or even gluten. Do not include these foods in your diet if you know you may have a reaction to them.
Remember: You have it in your control to live a healthier life with diabetes.