Millions of Americans are at high risk for diabetes, a serious and costly disease that has reached epidemic proportions. The good news: diabetes can be prevented.
What is Diabetes?
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar for our bodies to use as energy. The pancreas makes insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body doesn't make enough insulin or can't use insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in your blood.
"Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and even loss of your feet or legs," says James MacKay, M.D., Providence Health Plan medical director. "Diabetes can be dangerous, but being more active and making appropriate food choices can significantly delay or even prevent diabetes from developing."
Anyone can develop diabetes. And for those at high risk – including African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and older adults – prevention is the best medicine.
10 Tips You Can Start Using Now to Prevent Diabetes
- You don't have to abandon foods you love. Just cut down on portion size and eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal to your brain that you're full.
- Turn off the television and walk with a friend.
- When eating out, choose steamed veggies or broiled entrees instead of fried foods and cream sauces.
- Drink water with your meals. Water will fill you up faster and prevent you from overeating.
- Read food labels. Choose foods with unsaturated fat, and little or no added sugar or salt.
- Try getting at least one new fruit or vegetable every time you shop for groceries.
- Every step counts. Take a 10-minute walking break every day. Walking is great exercise and can help relieve stress, too!
- Eat a variety of whole grains such as 100 percent whole wheat bread, brown rice and oats.
- Know your family history. Your physician can help you determine hereditary factors that could put you at risk for developing diabetes.
- Lose a few. Shedding at least 10 pounds by eating fewer calories, eating smaller portions and exercising can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
GoodHealth News - Providence Health Plans