Diabetes affects over 26 million Americans and that number is expected to double, even triple, in the next four decades.  It is an epidemic that is growing in large part to obesity in children and adults.

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal.  If untreated, it can lead to problems such as heart disease, stroke, loss of vision, kidney disease and nerve damage.   Pre-diabetes is the condition where a blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes.  People predisposed to higher glucose levels are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes within ten years.

What can you do to prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

Have your blood sugar levels tested.  If your levels are higher than normal, the following tips will help you prevent or delay the onset of Diabetes.

Lose weight.  If you are overweight, set a goal to lose 5-7% of your weight.  Exercise at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity five days a week.  Cardio and muscle strengthening exercises should be combined for optimal effectiveness. 

Choose your food wisely.  Reduce your caloric intake, increase consumption of vegetables and lean proteins, and reduce sugar and fat intake.

There are several factors that increase your risk of Diabetes.

Age 45 years and older
Family History
High Blood Pressure
Higher Blood Glucose Levels
Low HDL or Good Cholesterol Levels
High Tri-Glyceride Levels
History of Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Ethnic background: African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian,
  Asian American or Pacific Islander

Assessing your situation, staying informed and speaking with your health care professional will help you create a plan for preventing diabetes.

If you have Type 2 Diabetes, you should be checking your blood sugar levels regularly.  Incorporating a healthy diet, increased exercise, eliminating smoking and maintaining a healthy weight will help you manage this disease and reduce your risk for serious complications.

Type 1 Diabetes may be caused by autoimmune, genetic, or environmental factors.  At present, there is no known way to prevent this disease.  It must be managed by insulin delivery.

For more information about Diabetes education, please contact Linda Suarez, MS, RN, Program Manager Patient & Community Education Nyack Hospital at 845-348-2876.