Take simple steps to manage, prevent diabetes

Published Mar 26, 2017 at 9:00am

Diabetes affects 1.6 million (10 percent) New Yorkers.

Even more alarming, is that 86 million people in the U.S. are living with prediabetes, and 90 percent of these people are not aware that they have it.

With prediabetes, blood sugar level is higher than it should be, but it is not high enough to be considered diabetes.

Prediabetics can improve their status by eating healthier, losing weight, and incorporating daily exercise into their daily routine (150 minutes/week).

Without lifestyle changes, 15-30 percent of prediabetics will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. As you get older, you have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes.  

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (Type 1), or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin, it produces (Type 2). Insulin helps to regulate blood sugar in the body.  

Type 1 diabetes requires daily injections of insulin. We currently do not know what causes, or how to prevent this form.  

Ninety percent of all diabetes cases are Type 2. You can prevent Type 2 diabetes with simple lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet.  

What are symptoms of diabetes?

• Excessive Thirst.

• Excessive excretion of urine.

• Constant hunger.

• Weight loss.

• Vision changes.

• Fatigue.

Diabetes is treatable

It can be controlled and managed to prevent complications.

Diabetes over time can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetics are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke, blindness (diabetic retinopathy), and kidney failure.

You can prevent these complications through early diagnosis, and by managing the condition.

Testing for Diabetes:

If you are age 45 or older you should be tested for diabetes. If you are younger than 45 and have any of the following risk factors for diabetes, get tested for diabetes: 

• Being overweight or obese.

• Having a parent, brother, or sister with
diabetes.

• Being African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino heritage.

• Having high blood pressure measuring 140/90 or higher.

• Having abnormal cholesterol with HDL (“good”) cholesterol is 35 or lower, or triglyceride level is 250 or higher.

• Being physically inactive — exercising fewer than three times a week.

Screening tests to check for diabetes:

Fasting glucose (fasting blood glucose, FBG) – this blood test measures the level of glucose in the blood after an 8-12 hour fast.

A1c (also called hemoglobin A1c or glycohemoglobin) – this blood test evaluates the average amount of glucose in the blood over the last 2-3 months and has been recommended more recently as another test to screen for diabetes.

If the initial result of the blood test is abnormal, you will complete the same blood test on another day. If the repeat result is also abnormal, the doctor will diagnose you with diabetes.

Your doctor may diagnose you with pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet in the diabetic range. You can reverse pre-diabetes with weight loss and increased physical activity.  

Preventing and Managing Type 2 Diabetes:

• Eat healthy and reduce portion sizes.

• Eat Less Saturated Fat.

• Eat baked or broiled food instead of fried foods.

• Use nonfat or low-fat salad dressing, mayo, and margarine.

• Try making dishes healthier by using fat-free or low-fat ingredients such as milk and cheese.

• Eat less sugar.

• Drink water instead of sugary beverages like soda and juice.

• Have a smaller portion of dessert if you plan to have it, or share it with someone.

• Eat Healthy Portions

• Eat smaller portions.

• If you go out to dinner, plan to take half of your meal home.

• Do not skip meals.

Get active: Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.  

Try to be active 150 minutes a week.

30 minutes, five times a week.

-OR-

15 minutes, ten times a week.

-OR-

10 minutes, several times a day.

Walk, dance, garden, or take an exercise class at your local gym or senior center.

Get family and friends involved, and walk or exercise together.

Be safe! If you are diabetic.

Check blood sugar before exercise.

Carry a snack in case blood sugar drops too low

Make sure to carry ID to indicate that you are diabetic.

Wear proper and safe, flat shoes.

Check feet daily and notify your doctor if you notice a sore or anything unusual that does not improve over two days.

Talk with your doctor today about diabetes prevention or managing it.