Diabetes Alert: What You Should Know!

Mar 23, 2022  -  Nutrition & Wellness

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 10 American have diabetes, an approximately 90-95% of then have type 2 diabetes. There are three major types of diabetes:

·        Prediabetes: Blood glucose levels are higher than what is accepted to be normal levels, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Most people who qualify for type 2 diabetes had prediabetes without knowing.

·        Type 1 diabetes: Autoimmune disease where the pancreas produces little to no insulin.

·        Type 2 diabetes: The pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the cells don’t respond normally to insulin (insulin resistance).

For the purpose of this discussion, we are going to talk specifically about type 2 diabetes. Why? Because type 2 diabetes is on the rise and is creating a heavy burden on the United States healthcare system. According to the American Diabetes Association, the cost of diabetes in 2017 was $327 billion! Diabetes is among the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States in 2019, and I can only imagine it has only gotten worse.

What are the risk factors?

There are a number of factors that may put you at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, some of which are well within your control. These risks include:

·        Weight: Being overweight or obese is a major risk. Over 43% of adults living in the United States are considered overweight or obese. The degree of insulin resistance is highest in people considered obese or those who carry excess body fat around their abdomen. It is important to note that not everyone who is obese develops type 2 diabetes, however, they are just at a much higher risk than those who are not obese.

·        Family history: The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if members of your immediate family, parents and/or siblings, has type 2 diabetes.

·        Age: As you get older, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases, especially after the age of 45.

·        Prediabetes: If left untreated, prediabetes can progress to type 2 diabetes.

·        Race and ethnicity: Although the causes are unknown, people of certain races and ethnicities – Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, and Pacific Islanders – are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than White, non-Hispanic people are.  

·        Fat distribution: High levels of abdominal fat – rather than hips and thighs – puts you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Your risk increases if your waist circumference is above 40 inches for a man or above 35 inches for a woman.

Treating obesity.

Weight-loss is the best first step in treating type 2 diabetes. Steady weight-loss can improve insulin action, and decrease the need for some diabetes medications. Behavior modification to include a program of a healthy, balanced diet and exercise can be the best treatment for obesity-related health concerns such as type 2 diabetes.

For long-term, sustainable weight-loss, creating an energy deficit of 500-1,000 calories per day, either through diet or exercise or a combination of both, should result in one or two pounds of weight-loss per week. It takes an energy deficit of approximately 3,500 calories to lose one pound of body fat. The best bang for your buck is of course to get yourself in an energy deficit through a combination of diet and exercise to reap the long-term health benefits.

Getting started with weight-loss.

It is no secret that weight-loss is hard. I know first-hand just how hard it is to lose the weight and keep it off. It takes hard work, dedication and behavior change that you can sustain for the rest of your life. It is all about finding just the right balance that works for you and your lifestyle and one that doesn’t leave you feeling deprived or restricted.  Here are some of the things I did to lose weight and keep it off.

·        Keeping a food log and emotional eating journal

·        Exercise or move my body most days of the week

·        Focus on what I like to call the weight loss trifecta: protein, fiber and water

·        Slow down my eating

·        Treat myself in moderation

·        Order a to-go container when I order my food at a restaurant to portion my food before I start eating. This ensures I am just eating 1 serving.

Set goals and then within those goals set micro-goals. Most people feel overwhelmed trying to make all these changes at once. By setting micro-goals (small steps to get you to your overall/main goal), you may find it easier to make healthy changes in a few small steps instead of all at once.

Takeaway

Spread the word about diabetes and educate yourself and loved once. Eating a well-balanced diet and staying active, with guidance from your primary care doctor, is a great way to keep your weight and health in check. If diabetes runs in your family or if you are overweight putting you at higher risk, reach out to your primary care doctor for guidance and testing.

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