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Avoid A Diabetes Dilemma - Find Out If You Are At Risk Today

November 3, 2017

November is American Diabetes Month, and with the number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes expected to triple by 2050, it is more important than ever to schedule a visit with your local SIHF Healthcare professional. Our trained physicians are dedicated to making sure you fully understand the seriousness of diabetes. There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational.

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is when the body does not produce insulin, and is typically diagnosed in children or young adults.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and is when your body is insulin resistant.

Gestational diabetes affects 9.2% of pregnant women, and occurs when a pregnant woman who has never had diabetes before has high blood glucose levels during pregnancy.

Diabetes is not a condition to take lightly. As of 2016, it remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, and every year over 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed. There are, however, steps you can take to lower your risk: 

1) Keep an Active, Healthy Lifestyle: Eating poorly and having a relatively inactive lifestyle can increase your risk for diabetes. Start by setting some realistic goals, such as “I will eat two pieces of fruit a day for the next month”, or “Four days a week, I will take a 20-minute walk after dinner.”

2) Cut Out Smoking: Smoking raises bad cholesterol, elevates your blood pressure, strains your lungs and heart, and can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. If you want to take charge of your health and quit smoking, you can: go cold turkey, use a nicotine supplement (such as a patch, gum, or spray), cut back gradually, or try seeing an SIHF Healthcare counselor for guidance.

3) Lower High Blood Pressure: Statistics report 2 in 3 people with diabetes having high blood pressure, which can increase your risk for having a stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, and eye problems. Your SIHF Healthcare physician can work with you to prescribe individual lifestyle changes and medications to help reduce high blood pressure.

4) Reduce High Blood Glucose Levels: People are diagnosed with diabetes if their blood glucose levels get too high. Being such an important factor in the diagnosis of diabetes, it’s vital to understand what can make your blood glucose rise or fall. Things that can make blood glucose levels rise include: excessive carbohydrates, illness, stress, inactivity, medication side effects, or changes in hormone levels. Things that make blood glucose levels fall include: missing a meal, alcoholic beverages, excessive activity, few carbohydrates, or side effects of certain medications. 

5) Keep Your Cholesterol in Check: Cholesterol is a group of fats (lipoproteins) that help with metabolism. Low-density lipoproteins are considered bad cholesterol. It can lead to a buildup in the arteries and subsequent damage to blood vessels. These steps can help improve your cholesterol: don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight, try to exercise every day, eat a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet, increase your intake of monounsaturated fats (canola oil, avocado oil, or olive oil), or cholesterol-lowering medicine.

If you have any questions or concerns about diabetes, schedule a visit with your local SIHF Healthcare Center. We can create a personal action plan for you to manage or lower your risk for diabetes. To find a location nearest to you, visit http://www.sihf.org/health-centers.