November is National Diabetes Month - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on November 12, 2014

November is National Diabetes Month

Crozer-Keystone Health SystemMedia Contact:
Katrina Stier
(610) 447-6314

November is American Diabetes Month.

Contact the Center for Diabetes at
610-328-8920 for more information.

November is typically a month in which Americans take time to consider what they’re thankful for. But for some, this is a month in which they re-energize themselves for the fight against diabetes.

Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. And another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. On top of that, the American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. is $245 billion. Currently, there’s no cure for diabetes and, if it’s not managed or prevented, people with diabetes can become afflicted with a whole host of other health complications.

Types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, which is typically diagnosed in children and young adults, only accounts for 5 percent of people with the disease. With this form of diabetes, the body doesn’t produce insulin, which is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy for daily life.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. If someone has type 2 diabetes, their body doesn’t properly use insulin.

Risk for diabetes

There are several factors that increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes related to lifestyle choices, which is why the American Diabetes Association works to increase education and awareness of the disease. If people with a predisposition for diabetes control these risk factors, their chance of developing diabetes decreases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it’s estimated that one of every three U.S. adults had prediabetes in 2010 – that’s 79 million Americans ages 20 and older. In addition, most people don’t know they have prediabetes, which means they have a blood sugar level that is higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.

And just because a person hasn’t been diagnosed with diabetes doesn’t mean their health isn’t at risk. Having prediabetes increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

Without making the lifestyle changes, the CDC reports that 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

Risk factors include:

  • Weight
  • Inactivity
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels

You can’t control your age, family history or age, all of which are also type 2 diabetes risk factors, but the other risk factors are in your control.

Preventing type 2 diabetes

Your first line of defense is losing weight, increasing your physical activity level and eating healthier. Carrying excess weight increases your risk of diabetes because the more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.

Not only does physical activity help you control your weight, but it also uses up the glucose in your system as energy and helps make your cells more sensitive to insulin.

Research has shown that even modest weight loss and regular physical activity can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent if you have prediabetes. Modest weight loss means 5 percent to 7 percent of body weight. That equates to 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person.

Strive to eat a diet of foods that are lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. You should focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eating this way will address your weight as well as your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

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