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When it comes to diabetes, small changes in your diet and lifestyle can have a big payoff. How? According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the three major causes of diabetes are often within our control. These are:
But before we talk about some ideas for prevention, let’s look at what diabetes actually is:
When we eat, most of our food is turned into glucose, or sugar, which the body uses as energy. Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar level, or blood glucose, is too high. The sugar is moved around the body to our cells by a hormone, called insulin, which is made in the pancreas. For a person with diabetes, the body either doesn't make enough insulin or the body is unable to use the insulin it does make. In either case, sugar builds up in the blood. Over time, this may lead to heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, blindness and more.
Two types of diabetes
In addition to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, there is also a condition called prediabetes, in which the blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Many people do not know they have pre-diabetes. The good news is —prediabetes can be reversed. Through a national study called the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), the NIH found that “millions of high-risk people can delay or avoid developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight through regular physical activity and a diet low in fat calories.”
Medicare Can Help
When it comes to getting diabetes screenings, you’re not alone. Medicare covers diabetes screenings tests for those who are at risk. Talk with your doctor if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, have high cholesterol and/or have a family history of diabetes.
Simple Ways to Delay (and maybe prevent) Diabetes
Of course, getting more physical activity and eating better are messages that have been recommended for years. So, how do you do it? To start, use your imagination. There are many, many small things you can do that will help. Below are 10 simple ideas. Healthy actions do add up!
Delaying diabetes is the first step to prevention. Along with making lifestyle changes, talk with your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested and be sure that they know about any family history of diabetes.
Sources: Fact Sheet. Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health; Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. February 7, 2013, Vol 97, No. 4, Pages 728-742.
Most recent update: 3/29/2019
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