Facts about diabetes – part 2

Lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

To help raise public awareness and knowledge about the serious consequences of Type 2 diabetes, Michigan State University Extension provides practical knowledge and skills for those who are at risk of diabetes and for those who live with diabetes. According to the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and it is estimated that one in every four people with diabetes does not even know they have the disease. If diabetes goes untreated it can lead to serious health problems such as nerve damage, blindness, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and death. Serious complications can be delayed and often prevented if this chronic disease is addressed early. The NDEP offers a short diabetes risk test to help people assess their potential for developing prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes and also learn how to prevent or delay it.

Research has shown that one of the ways to delay and possibly prevent the disease is to lose a small amount of weight (five to seven percent of total body weight) through 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week, along with healthier eating. Even small changes to your diet and daily habits can help reduce your risk.

One small change recommended by the American Diabetes Association is to avoid drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. These include regular soda, fruit punch, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, sweet tea or other sugary drinks. Just one 12 ounce can of regular soda contains about 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate, or about 10 teaspoons of sugar. “Carbs” are the food that affect blood glucose and include fruits, starchy vegetables, breads, pastas, rice, dairy products and sugars. When reading food labels, check the total carbohydrate content, and try to limit your intake to 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal.

Another small change to help lose weight is to eat more slowly, which boosts feeling satisfied and decreases overeating. Using a smaller plate or bowl also helps make portions seem larger. Paying attention to the taste and enjoyment of the food we eat helps us to be mindful of each bite, and more in control of what and how much we eat. Avoid being distracted by the television, phone or computer while eating. Try setting down your fork between bites to savor each mouthful, and be able to notice when you are full. Studies show that friends and family can also influence our habits; sharing meals and staying active with loved ones who also want to improve their health will provide support and help us do better at losing weight and keeping it off.

America Gets Cooking to Stop Diabetes helps people live a more active and healthier lifestyle, and cook nutritious and delicious food. It also offers tips to make any meal more diabetes friendly. Preparing meals at home offers greater control of what you eat and how much you eat!

In Michigan, MI Healthier Tomorrow and the Diabetes Partners in Action Coalition offer more support to reach your goals. Diabetes PATH (Personal Action Toward Health) is a self-management educational workshop that is offered statewide by MSU Extension and others through a statewide collaboration. You can search for a program near you at MI Healthy Programs. You can also locate the nearest hospital based Diabetes Self-Management Education program certified by Michigan Department of Community Health, or find a Diabetes Prevention Program offered in Michigan.

Take charge of your future now with knowledge and behavior change to prevent this sometimes silent but serious and potentially deadly disease. Also read Facts about diabetes – part 1 of this article.

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