Type 2 Diabetes: Prevention Pointers

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Are you worried you may get diabetes at some point in your life? Do you have family members or loved ones with diabetes and worry that you are at risk as well? Has your doctor tested you and told you that you are at risk for diabetes or that you have pre-diabetes?

Diabetes is when your blood glucose (or blood sugar) is too high. It is diagnosed with simple blood tests, available at your health care center. Extra sugar in your blood can really hurt the vessels and nerves in your body, potentially causing many serious problems such as blindness, heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. If you could prevent diabetes, you could prevent a lot of other diseases as well!

There are several types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is more rare and usually diagnosed in children and young adults. It is caused by your body (specifically your pancreas) not making enough of the hormone called insulin. Insulin helps your body take the sugar out of your blood and use it for energy. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin injections to live. Type 2 diabetes is more common and can be diagnosed at any age. In type 2 diabetes, your pancreas makes enough insulin but your body is not able to use it because it is resistant to insulin. Sometimes in advanced type 2 diabetes, the pancreas stops making insulin because it has been running on overdrive too long, and then insulin injections may be needed as well. Gestational diabetes happens to women when they are pregnant and usually goes away after delivery. However, women who experience gestational diabetes are at risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes later in life.

Whether you know you are at risk for diabetes, have been told you have pre-diabetes, or just want to do everything you can to avoid it, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Eat/Drink Less Sugar: Cut down on sugars and carbohydrates in your diet.
    → Skip the soda
    → Avoid juices and sugary coffee drinks (sometimes worse than soda!)
    → Eat less “white” foods: potatoes, white rice, white noodles, white bread, added sugar
    → Eat more colorful foods: brown rice, whole wheat bread, beans, vegetables
  2. Exercise Routinely: Try at least 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 days/week.
  3. Lose Weight: If you are overweight, you don’t have to get to your “ideal weight,” losing 7% of your body weight (about 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) can lower your chances of getting diabetes.
  4. Visit Your Health Care Center: One Community Health is here to help you! We have a dedicated team of providers, nurses and community health workers who will work with you to develop a customized plan that will help you prevent diabetes.

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AUTHORED BY:

Kate McKenna, MD
One Community Health


Sources:

American Diabetes Association

American Family Physician, “Diabetes Mellitus: Screening and Diagnosis.” Jan15, 2016 93(2):103-109 American Academy of Family Physicians

National Institute Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

American Diabetes Association (diabetes, heart disease, risks, Spanish version)