According to the most recent comprehensive statistics, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the USA with 1.4 million Americans being diagnosed every year. More than 25% of Americans above the age of 65 have diabetes.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by too much glucose in the blood. It may be caused by destruction of the pancreatic cells that produce insulin (type 1) or resistance to the action of insulin (type 2) which is to help cells absorb glucose to produce energy. Other forms of diabetes include gestational diabetes which occurs during pregnancy and pre-diabetes which is characterized by borderline high blood glucose levels. In fact, 9 out of 10 pre-diabetics are not even aware of their condition.
Being obese or overweight may be the single most important factor in predicting whether or not you get diabetes. While it is true that people who are not overweight can also have diabetes, research has shown that the added pounds significantly up your risk.
Due to the strong link between diabetes and excess weight, losing those extra pounds, becoming more active and eating healthy are considered the first line of defense against diabetes. Studies have shown that regular exercise of at least 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week accompanied by a low-fat, low-sugar, high-fiber diet can help prevent diabetes. In case you have prediabetes, your doctor may prescribe medications that lower your risk of developing diabetes.
Those who are obese may have to consider bariatric surgery. The benefits of bariatric surgery in the treatment of these diabetic individuals cannot be overlooked. In fact, such surgeries are even being performed on less obese or simply overweight patients with one of the aims being to prevent diabetes.
You can reduce your risk of diabetes by understanding your risk and making changes to your lifestyle. Changing the habits isn’t easy, but it’s worth the effort. It’s a good idea to regularly check your blood glucose, blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. Contact your doctor today!