The numbers are truly staggering. More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes. Even more frightening, one-in-four people who have diabetes don’t even know it.
November is National Diabetes Month and while there is still no cure, there are ways to help prevent diabetes and to take more control over your life if you already have it.
People with diabetes need to move more often than previously advised, new guidelines say.
To improve blood sugar management, people with diabetes should do three or more minutes of light activity every 30 minutes during prolonged periods of sitting, such as working on a computer or watching TV. This is especially true for those with type 2 diabetes, according to the latest recommendations from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
These light activities include: overhead arm stretches, walking in place, leg lifts or extensions, desk chair swivels, torso twists and side lunges.
“This movement should be in addition to regular exercise, as it is highly recommended for people with diabetes to be active,” said guidelines lead author Sheri Colberg-Ochs, consultant/director of physical fitness for the ADA.
If you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes – that doesn’t mean you don’t have it. Of the estimated 29.1 million people living with this condition – about eight million don’t realize they have diabetes. Roughly 9-out-of-10 people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:
If you have any of the risk factors below, ask your doctor if you should be tested for diabetes. The sooner you find out, the sooner you can start making healthy changes that will benefit you now and in the future.
Type 2 diabetes risk factors include
- Being overweight.
- Being 45 years or older.
- Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week.
- Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.
Race and ethnicity also matter: African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has an online risk test you can take. Click here or on the picture below to access the test.
People with diabetes (Type 1 or 2) are at a higher risk for serious health complications including:
- Heart disease and stroke: People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke as people without diabetes, and at an earlier age.
- Blindness and eye problems: Diabetic retinopathy (damage to blood vessels in the retina), cataract (clouding of the lens), and glaucoma (increase in fluid pressure in the eye) can all result in vision loss.
- Kidney disease: High blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys over time, long before you start to feel bad.
- Amputations: This means you could lose a foot or leg. Diabetes causes damage to blood vessels and nerves, particularly in the feet, and can lead to serious, hard-to-treat infections. Amputation may be necessary to keep the infection from spreading.
Living a healthier lifestyle can help reduce the risk or lessen the impact of diabetes on your life. Share your thoughts on how we can work together to battle diabetes here in Arizona. Reversing the number of diabetes cases in our state will help us take a big step toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!