Diabetes is a very real epidemic. Even though type 2 diabetes most often occurs in adults, it is becoming increasingly common in children and teenagers. In the U.S., 30.3 million people have diabetes – that’s 9.4% of the population. According to the CDC’s National Diabetes Statistics Report, of those 30.3 million Americans:
- 1 million people have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
- 2 million (23.8%) people have undiagnosed diabetes.
- 90% to 95% of cases are type 2 diabetes.
#1: Read up on type 2 diabetes.Ensure you are educated on your condition and ask your health care team for clarification on anything you don’t understand. Recognize and dismiss diabetes myths. Know what is in your control and how to achieve a healthier way of living. The American Diabetes Association, the National Diabetes Education Program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators offer rich resources worth exploring.
#2: Know your ABCs.Manage your diabetes ABCs:
- A1C: Measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months/is different from your regular blood sugar checks.
- Blood pressure: Measures the force of your blood against the wall of your blood vessels.
- Cholesterol: Measures LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and HDL (“good” cholesterol).
- Stop Smoking: Like diabetes, smoking narrows your blood vessels. Consider quitting.
#3: Follow your health care routine and your doctor’s recommendations.Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, especially if you take insulin. If you are prescribed other medication for your diabetes, make sure to comply with the instructions given by your health care team.
#4: Practice healthy eating.Eating well through proper nutrition to maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to manage your type 2 diabetes and reduce your risk for heart disease. Check out our other blog post for a Type 2 Diabetes Healthy Eating guide.
#5: Get moving!Invest in your health by exercising – keeping active is a vital part of managing your diabetes. Regular physical activity:
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Burns calories to help you lose or maintain weight.
- Strengthens your heart and improves your blood circulation.
- Strengthens your muscles and bones.
- Improves your balance to prevent falls.
- Reduces symptoms of depression and improves quality of life.