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National Diabetes Month: Taking Charge of a Prediabetes Diagnosis

diabetes

November is National Diabetes Month! Roughly 30 million adults in the U.S. are living with diabetes, and 84 million have prediabetes. People with prediabetes are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. However, diabetes can be prevented or delayed through a structured program that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise and weight loss.

Even though type 2 diabetes is common, the symptoms aren’t always obvious. Many people walk around for years not even realizing that they have diabetes! In honor of National Diabetes Month, let’s learn more about what type 2 diabetes is and how to prevent prediabetes from progressing into diabetes.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is also called adult onset diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or is resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar (glucose), which is a source of fuel for your body.

Type 2 diabetes is chronic and there is no cure. Eating properly, losing weight and exercising can help you manage the symptoms of the condition. Sometimes people need to use medication, vitamins and supplements, in addition to lifestyle changes, to see an improvement in symptoms.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Nerve pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing sores and infections
  • Areas of darkened skin on neck and armpits

How to Prevent Prediabetes from Progressing into Diabetes

Diabetes is a progressive condition, so if you don’t make immediate lifestyle changes, it may continue to worsen. Do not wait until this day comes. By making healthy choices today, you can add valuable years onto your life.

Below you’ll find the most effective ways to bring your blood sugar levels back to normal.

  • Eat healthy foods. Stick to foods that are high in fiber and low in fat and calories. Fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains are some of your best options.
  • Be more active. Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week. This breaks down to 20-30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Lose excess weight. If you’re overweight, losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight can reduce the risk for diabetes. As an example, if you’re 200 pounds, that’s just 14 pounds of weight loss.
  • Stop smoking. If you smoke, quit right away. Not only will you reduce your risk for diabetes, but also you can lower the chances for lung, throat and mouth cancers. Talk to your doctor about the best way to quit.
  • Take your medications. Your doctor may recommend taking medications if you’re at a high risk for diabetes. We don’t recommend relying on these medications entirely, but they can help you get back into shape.

The American Diabetes Association recommends screening for diabetes at age 45. Make sure that you get your screenings on time because diabetes doesn’t always have symptoms.

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