It’s National Diabetes Month—learn how lifestyle changes can make a difference
November was named National Diabetes Month to raise awareness of this incurable disease that affects over 29 million Americans. The three types of diabetes include: type 1, where your body fails to produce insulin; type 2, when your body fails to use insulin well and has a hard time keeping your blood sugar at the right levels; and gestational, which affects some women during pregnancy. Type 2 is not only the most common but also the most preventable.
With simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. It is never too late to begin—below are some tips to get you started.
- Exercise regularly. Studies have shown that a fitness program of both aerobic exercise, such as running, and resistance training, such as lifting weights, provides the most benefits. Exercise will help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar levels, and boost your sensitivity to insulin, which help keeps your blood sugar within a normal range.
- Eat more fiber. You know you’re supposed to eat your fruits and veggies. But did you know that doing so not only lowers your risk of heart disease but also improves your blood sugar control? Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains.
- Drink water. Give up soda and juices that provide nothing but sugar and empty calories. Drinking water will lower your calorie count for the day and help you lose weight over the long term.
- Lose weight. Each pound you lose can benefit your overall health. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise has been shown to greatly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Start by making healthy food choices, keeping track of calories, and being physical every day.
- Beware of fad diets. Crash diets, such as low-carb or glycemic index diets, may help you lose weight at first. But eliminating certain foods from your diet may not be sustainable or help you over the long term if you are missing certain nutrients. By practicing portion control and making healthy choices, you should see the benefits on the scale and help lower your risk of several diseases, including diabetes.
Many people don’t even realize they have type 2 diabetes, and if left untreated, it may cause a variety of health problems. If you are overweight, have other family members with the disease, are inactive, or over age 45, you may be at an increased risk of getting diabetes. Ask your doctor if you think you should be tested.
This post is part of the Seacoast Career Schools’ weekly blog. We care about the health and wellness of all of our students. If you're interested in a professional training program, contact us today to find out more, or to schedule a tour.