November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. It’s an important time to bring attention to a very serious disease. Right now there are 114 million Americans that suffer from this diabetes or pre-diabetes. The specific breakdown is this way: 30 million – or 9.4 percent of Americans – have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
And 84 million Americans have prediabetes. Although prediabetes is not an actual disease, it is a major wake-up call to make life changes.
Without any intervention, 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes over the following five years. And, according Heather Hodge, director of the Chronic Disease Prevention Program at YMCA of the USA, diabetes is currently at epidemic levels. This is so because of rising levels of obesity in the United States.
Much of the news about diabetes is frustrating both for people who have it and those who treat it. Unfortunately, Americans keep eating bad foods and keep gaining weight. Bad nutrition leads to bead health consequences — and one of those consequences is a full blown diabetes chronic illness. Diabetes can lead to vision loss and heart disease.
The average medical expenditures for people are about $13,700 a year – with $7,900 relating to diabetes alone, according to the American Diabetes Association.
November: Current State of Diabetes Knowledge
Education is also helping. There’s also less shaming nowadays about having diabetes – specifically Type 2, which is the kind of diabetes often linked to lifestyle choices.
In addition, more technology helps users and health care providers better understand the disease.
Moreover, there’s finally a growing focus on prevention. Many health insurance companies and employers are investing in educational and digital programs to help people better understand their condition and get it under better control.
Great Time To Get Aware And Checked
November is a great month to make the following positive health changes in your life.
See a health care provider. Prediabetes and diabetes don’t always have symptoms. However, you’re at a higher risk for diabetes if you have a family history of diabetes or if you’re overweight, with a body mass index greater than 25. You can also evaluate your risk with the American Diabetes Association risk calculator found here.
Join a diabetes prevention program. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program was certified in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is a proven low-cost community program that stresses prevention. The DPP is specifically for adults age 18 and older who have been diagnosed with prediabetes.
Diabetes Prevention Program meetings are held at 1,100 sites in 47 states; some sites have classes in different languages.
Exercise and good nutrition are key. Consistent physical activity is important. You don’t have to become an Olympic quality athlete to get the benefits of exercise. Brisk walking three days a week at 30-45 minutes each time — will reduce your weight and sugar levels to acceptable points. And, as far as meals are concerned, cut out the sugar, oil and saturated fats.
You’ll feel better and be much healthier.