Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. One out of every 11 Americans has diabetes, and 86 million more are pre-diabetic. The American Diabetes Association estimates that the United States spends about $245 million every year on health care for people with diabetes, and recent projections have determined that as many as one in every three adults will have diabetes by 2050 if nothing changes. Type 2 diabetes can be managed and prevented, if people have the tools and knowledge to manage their health. That is why November is American Diabetes Month, meant to raise awareness and money for diabetes research and management. If you’ve ever wondered what diabetes is and what you can do to prevent it, read on for some helpful information!
Diabetes affects how much insulin is available to process the food we eat, which leads to an elevated level of sugar in the blood. This can damage most of the organ systems in the body, leading to blindness, nerve damage and kidney damage if it’s not controlled. Many studies have found encouraging news, however; diabetes can be controlled, and its effects can be minimized through healthy diet and exercise. A diet high in plant-based foods and low in processed meats and carbohydrates prevents the insulin spikes that can make your body less sensitive to insulin as time goes on. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exercise also has a positive impact on patients with diabetes. They recommend 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week for American adults. Obesity has been found to play a large role in the onset of diabetes, so doctors recommend that people who are at risk try to lose weight.
This may sound overwhelming. How is anyone to be expected to tackle all this alone? That’s why the most important step in managing diabetic care is to build a care plan with a medical professional. This helps the patient ease into their lifestyle changes and helps prevent metabolic emergencies. AFC can help fit diabetes care into everyday life. Many locations have on-site lab testing, so patients can get blood sugar levels tested while they’re at the clinic. Some clinics offer primary care services and are able to monitor their patients over the long-term and devise treatment strategies that become part of the lifestyles patients want to lead.
As scary as the potential effects of diabetes are, people who successfully manage their disease can avoid the pain and physical deterioration they would otherwise experience. This is why education and community support are so important in fighting this disease. If you have any questions about your risk of developing diabetes or another metabolic disease and what you can do to prevent it, contact your local AFC urgent care provider today.