According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 30 million Americans have diabetes – a chronic condition that happens when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or process sugar efficiently. The surprising thing is that about 7.5 million people are diabetic and don’t know it!
Doctors say if you’re over 45 years of age, are overweight or diabetes is part of your family history, you should be screened regularly. If these characteristics don’t apply, you may want to talk with your physician if you demonstrate any of the following symptoms:
- Increased need to urinate
- Being very thirsty or more hungry
- Bleeding or swollen gums, receding gum line and mouth pain
- Bruises and cuts that take a long time to heal
- Losing weight without trying
- Increased fatigue
- Dizzy or fainting spells
- Yeast and fungal infections
- Dark spots around your neck and armpits
- Tingling or numbness in your hands and/or feet
- Itchy, dry skin
There are several steps you can take to prevent or control diabetes, but like most serious illnesses, early detection is critical. Diabetes or pre-diabetes can be determined by a simple blood test.
The time to think about diabetes is not when it’s diagnosed. It’s important to take steps to prevent diabetes and prediabetes before they ever develop. While more than 100 million American adults live with diabetes or prediabetes, there are easy, proven ways to prevent it. Here are just a few:
Eating better: the breakdown. Though we often hear that we should “eat better” it’s not always clear what that means. Whole, fiber-rich foods are what you should be consuming. Fill your plate with vibrant foods, having natural color and fiber, such as quinoa, brown-rice, blueberries and garbanzo beans. These foods are slow-burning, providing longer term energy and maintaining sugar levels more steadily. When eating a meal containing slow and fast burning foods, eating slower-burning foods first will slow the absorption rate of faster-burning foods.
Water is your best friend. While the call of sugary drinks such as juice, packaged iced tea and soft drinks can be hard to resist, water is always the best choice. Even diet or low calorie drinks can increase the risk of diabetes, potentially causing changes in gut bacteria that affect metabolism. Water eliminates stripped carbs and provides the hydration your body needs.
Keep moving. Exercising regularly, doing both cardio and resistance activities, not only lowers your blood sugar but makes your cells more sensitive to insulin. That’s really a two-for-one diabetes prevention action! Choosing activities that you and your family enjoy makes exercise fun.
Thanks to a new system approved recently by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Medicare patients with diabetes are able to monitor their glucose levels without sticking their fingers. The first-of-its-kind system reads glucose levels through a sensor placed on the back of the upper arm. Sensors, which can be worn for 10 days, are priced at $36 while a handheld reader, placed over the sensor to obtain real-time readings, retails for about $70.
The death rate from heart disease rose 0.9% last year, per U.S. mortality data released by the CDC. Researchers link the increase to obesity and diabetes. Death rates from heart disease were declining due to anti-smoking campaigns and medications to control blood pressure and cholesterol. The findings signal a reversal of a trend that has been improving for decades.