More than 34 million Americans have diabetes. Another 88 million US adults have prediabetes, a serious health condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. A person with prediabetes is at high risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The Diabetes and Nutrition Center offers a program for those with prediabetes to help manage and prevent type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke and can lead to other serious complications, such as kidney failure, blindness, and amputation of a toe, foot, or leg. People with diabetes spend more on health care, have fewer productive years, and miss more workdays compared to people who don’t have diabetes. In 2017, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes was $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in absenteeism, reduced productivity, and inability to work.
Some people are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes because they:
• Are overweight or have obesity.
• Are age 45 or older.
• Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
• Are physically active less than 3 times a week.
• Had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.
• Are African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, or Asian American.
If you have diabetes, you should try to keep your blood sugar level as close as possible to that of someone who doesn’t have diabetes. This may not be possible or right for everyone. Check with your doctor about what the right range of blood sugar is for you.
You will get plenty of help in learning how to do this from your health care team, which is made up of your doctor, nurses, and dietitian.
There are four things you need to do every day to lower high blood sugar:
• Eat healthy food - foods low in fat, salt, and sugar and high in fiber, like beans, fruits, vegetables, and grains.
• Get regular exercise - work to get in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity.
• Take your diabetes medicine.
• Test your blood sugar every day.
Working on goals for your health will help create long-lasting habits to keep diabetes under control or to prevent diabetes altogether. Talk to your healthcare team about programs or classes to assist in your goals.
If you ever have questions or want additional help managing your diabetes, the Diabetes and Nutrition Center can be reached at 660-627-4493 ext. 412.