November is National Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness of the symptoms of this disease to promote early diagnosis, leading to better health outcomes. Adopting healthier lifestyle choices may even delay the onset of the more common Type 2 diabetes, which affects more than 10 percent of Americans.
Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight, as the more fat, the more resistant cells become to insulin, explains the Mayo Clinic. Also, having a family history of diabetes, being inactive, having high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels may also increase the chance of developing diabetes. Women who’ve had gestational diabetes or have polycystic ovary syndrome have greater odds of contracting this disease.
A simple fasting blood test can diagnose diabetes, a condition where a person’s body can’t produce enough insulin, or respond to insulin, which leads to high levels of glucose in the bloodstream. If left untreated, the excessive levels may damage the eyes, heart, kidneys, and other areas of the body.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests committing to one new healthy habit for the month, such as getting more sleep, drinking more water, flossing daily to avoid dental issues, walking for 15 minutes after dinner, practicing deep breathing to reduce stress, or trying new vegetables.
According to the ADA, the number of senior citizens contracting diabetes is growing. “Half of Americans age 65 or older have pre-diabetes, and are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. An estimated 11.2 million seniors have already been diagnosed, a figure that will continue to increase if we do not act to prevent diabetes in this population. One out of every three Medicare dollars is spent on diabetes.”