3 Things You Can Do to Prevent Diabetes

You may be at risk for diabetes without even realizing it; take steps now to prevent diabetes.

November is recognized as American Diabetes Month. It is a time to learn more about this disease that affects nearly 26 million Americans. There are three types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in childhood and accounts for 5% of all cases of diabetes. The body does not produce the hormone insulin that is needed to convert sugars and starches into energy. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and affects millions, while millions of others are at high risk. The body does not produce enough insulin or does not properly register the insulin, preventing the body from converting glucose into energy. The third type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, occurs during pregnancy and generally goes away with proper treatment.

You are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes if you are over age 45, are overweight, are not very physically active, have family members with diabetes, had gestational diabetes, had a 9 pound or heavier baby, or are of African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander background. To prevent type 2 diabetes, you can make certain lifestyle changes.

Top 3 Diabetes Prevention Tips

1. Healthy Diet
Eating right can help you prevent diabetes. A nutritious diet will help you maintain a healthy weight. Fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Stick with leaner meats like chicken and turkey and choose low-fat dairy products. Cut sodium by washing canned vegetables first and using flavorful spices instead of salt. Don't smoke. Plan out meals and stock up on healthy snack options to resist the urge to eat unhealthy foods that can lead to diabetes.

2. Exercise
Working out is a great way to get in shape, maintain a healthy weight, and have fun. You can get physically fit by walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, or biking. Join a fitness group or class to make working out a social occasion. Don’t forget to warm up, stretch, and cool down. Stay hydrated too.

3. Get educated
Knowing your risk for diabetes and your glucose level can help you stay on top of your health. Discuss your risk for diabetes with your doctor regularly. If you focus on eating right and exercising, you’ll keep your weight down and reduce your risk for ever developing diabetes.

The Diabetes Center at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point can provide you with more information on all three types of diabetes. To learn more about diabetes prevention, visit our online health library. Prevent diabetes this November during American Diabetes Month with a healthy diet, exercise, and knowledge.  

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