Did you know that many people are not aware they have diabetes? Diabetes affects over 30 million Americans, and about 7 million people do not know they have it. What do you do when you find out you have diabetes? Everything begins to change-the way you think, eat, exercise. And now you have to monitor your blood sugar levels. Being diagnosed with diabetes can be very overwhelming, but it is important to understand the difference between the types of diabetes and also what it means to be prediabetic – to be able to live a healthier stable life.
Type 1 Diabetes| The body cannot produce enough insulin
When a person has type 1 diabetes it means their body cannot produce enough blood sugar. It is a disease that makes your body attack itself and prevents your body from making insulin/blood sugar. For the longest time, it was thought that Type 1 diabetes was a juvenile disease that only affected children. That has been proven to be a myth. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, in any race, and every shape and size. More adults have type 1 diabetes than children. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented or cured, but blood tests can detect early signs of it. With type 1, it is very important to balance your insulin doses with the food you eat and the activity you do.
Type 2 Diabetes | The body cannot use the insulin it produces
A person who has type 2 diabetes cannot use the insulin their body produces properly and therefore over time, their body is not able to keep up and keep the blood sugar at a normal level. Type 2 Diabetes can develop at any age and in most cases can be prevented. Symptoms for type 2 diabetes are sometimes so small that people do not realize they have diabetes. You are at risk for type 2 diabetes if you are:
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Not being physically active
- 45 years and older
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
Losing weight and keeping it off. Weight control is an important part of diabetes prevention. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose between 10 and 20 pounds. And once you lose the weight, it is important that you don’t gain it back.
Following a healthy eating plan. It is important to reduce the number of calories you eat and drink each day, so you can lose weight and keep it off. Your diet should include smaller portions and less fat, like butter, and sugar, like sweets. You should also eat a variety of foods from each food group, including plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also a good idea to limit red meat and avoid processed meats. Your nutrition and the different foods you eat will affect your blood sugar.
Stay Active. Staying active has many health benefits, including helping you to lose weight and lower your blood sugar levels. These both lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional to figure out which types of activities are best for you. You can start slowly and work up to your goal.
Don’t smoke. Smoking can also lead to type 2 diabetes. Talk to your doctor about quitting – there is a lot out there to help you. You are not alone.
How Sixteenth Street can help
Think you are at risk for type 2 diabetes? Talk to your doctor today about how to prevent type 2 diabetes. Early detection and treatment of diabetes can lower the chance of developing further complications. These complications can turn into problems with your skin, eyes and nerve damage. Our Diabetes support group is also there to guide and support you every step of the way. Taking these steps to learn more about diabetes and different strategies for self-management means you are on your way to a healthier lifestyle already!