The following infographic and article come to us from our friends at North County Health Services (NCHS) who provide health services to residents of North County San Diego and Riverside County in California. I thought this would be a perfect way to kick off Diabetes Awareness Month.
Diabetes affects the body’s ability to use or produce insulin properly, leading to unregulated blood sugar levels that may result in severe sickness, medical complications, or death. Type 1 diabetes is more common in children, while type 2 diabetes is more common in adults. However, both stem from a lack of effective insulin (either because it isn’t produced or it simply isn’t used properly) and result in sugar buildup in the blood.
Diabetes affects nearly 10% of Americans. Approximately 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes each year. It is the 7th leading cause of death in the US and is also commonly considered an underlying or contributing cause of death (Source: diabetes.org).
Some risk factors of diabetes are unavoidable, such as having a family history of diabetes and growing older. But living a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight, and having unhealthy eating habits are all risk factors that individuals can control. Oftentimes, making changes in your activity level, weight, and food consumption can significantly reduce your risk of acquiring diabetes.
How Diabetes Affects the Body
As with any disease, diabetes affects everyone differently. Some people may find it easy to manage and control their blood sugar levels. Others will struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle and will have to live with the debilitating effects of the disease. Anxiety, strokes, heart attacks, nerve damage, erectile dysfunction, eye disease and/or blindness, kidney disease, and lower limb amputation are some common complications that those with diabetes may face.
Management and Prevention
The key to diabetes management is blood sugar awareness. You can maintain a healthy blood sugar level by monitoring your blood sugar closely and by adhering to a healthy diet.
- Increase the amount of vegetables, fruits, lean meats (fish, chicken, turkey), beans and peas you eat.
- Decrease the amount of saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, trans fat, and sugar you consume.
- Look for food high in fiber.
- Commit to an exercise program that keeps you active for at least 30 minutes each day.