NOVEMBER 14TH, World Diabetes Day
It is estimated that about 30 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, and as much as 80 million (1 in 4 adult Americans!) have prediabetes (high risk for developing the condition). Most patients with prediabetes are not aware of their risk and might go for years without being treated. Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure in the US, and it is associated with increased risk of heart disease, strokes, limb amputations, and several other complications.
Are you at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes? These are some of the risk factors:
- Being overweight: calculate your BMI here
- Being older than 45 years – the risk increases with age
- High Blood Pressure: over 130/80 mmHg
- High “bad” cholesterol (LDL): over 130 mg/dl
- Low “good” cholesterol (HDL): less than 40 mg/dl
- High fat in the blood: triglycerides over 200 mg/dl
- Having history of gestational diabetes
- Having family history of type 2 diabetes
- Being of certain ethnic groups: Latino, African American, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander…
- Take a simple risk test developed by the American Diabetes Association here
If you have any of these risk factors, you should be screened with just a simple blood test.
I like to share good news with my patients and readers, and this one is a GREAT ONE: Eighty to ninety percent of type 2 diabetes is preventable! That means that if you work on the modifiable risk factor, you can PREVENT or even REVERSE the disease. The key actions to modify your risk are: lose weight, eat healthy, stay active.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates: white starches, sugary drinks, candies…
- Eat more fiber: leafy greens, berries, beans, avocados…
- Eat healthy fats: nuts, seeds, fish…
- Reduce your portion size
- Avoid eating at night
- Fill your plate with at least 50% of non-starchy vegetables
- Drink at least 1/2 gallon of water every day
- Increase your activity level: aim for 10,000 steps per day, or 150 minutes of physical activity per week
- Cut off your snacks, and if you really want some: go for fruits, nuts or non-starchy vegetables.
- Sleep at least 8 hours every night
Since changing behavior is so hard, you might find these tips helpful:
- Set Clear, realistic and defined Goals: “I’ll eat at least 3 fruits per day for the next 10 days”, “I want to walk 90 minutes this week and I’ll do it in 3 sessions of 30 minutes”, “I will eat 3 meals per day for the next 3 days without eating anything in between meals”, “I’ll go to bed at 9 pm every night from Monday through Friday”…
- Self-monitor: keep a calendar, log your progress, monitor your weight, keep a food and exercise diary. Be honest with yourself but don’t blame yourself if you couldn’t make it, just identify the weaknesses to overcome them in your next challenge
- Feedback: let people around you know about your goals, find a good friend or a health care provider to be accountable to. Support groups can be very helpful here.
- Boost your confidence: “Every victory gained prepares the way for a fresh victory” (Ellen White). You can’t fail if you keep trying! Communicate your victories to your friends, family and providers.
- Get Incentives: reward yourself after you’ve achieve each little goal (or not so little!). Get your nails done, go for a massage, buy a new book or new sport clothes :), adopt a puppy
More info on Word Diabetes Day: https://www.worlddiabetesday.org/
Time to get started!
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Dr. Maria B. Menucci
In case you missed them, Check these related blogs:
INTERMITTENT FASTING: https://drmenucciendocrine.org/2018/09/11/basics-of-intermittent-fasting-video/
REVERSE DIABETES: https://drmenucciendocrine.org/2018/08/10/a-few-secrets-to-overcome-type-2-diabetes/