Diabetes is a disease in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in a person’s blood is abnormally high. Diabetes is a treatable, controllable disease, but if not actively taken care of, can lead to serious health complications (e.g. heart disease, stroke, loss of vision, amputation, kidney failure, and nerve damage).
Many of those who are pre-diabetic or even already diabetic may not be aware of the disease because symptoms of diabetes are not always apparent. There are actually three types of diabetes, and all can affect women.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not make insulin naturally, and it cannot be prevented. Those with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day via shots or an insulin pump. Those with type 2 diabetes are able to produce insulin on their own, but their body cannot properly use this insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and it can be prevented. The third type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which can occur during a pregnancy and ends once the pregnancy is over.
Diabetes affects about 12 million American women, with roughly one-quarter of those women unaware that they are diabetic. Fortunately, even though diabetes is common, there are things you can do to help prevent this disease.
- Cut out/down on sugar.
A small, but highly effective resolution for better health and diabetes prevention in 2015 is either to cut out or cut down on the amount of sugar you consume each day. Sugar is founds in our drinks, our snacks, our desserts, and more. Cutting down on the amount of sugar in your diet is an important part of taking control of your health and preventing diabetes.
- Stock up on produce.
Simply increasing the amount of vegetables in your diet can go a long way toward preventing diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends aiming to fill your plate so it’s 50% vegetables and 50% the rest of your meal. You’ll feel just as full as you would if those veggies were French fries or bread, but you’ll have a healthier blood glucose level.
- Ditch the carbs.
Carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, etc., are all sources of potential spikes in blood sugar. Over time, these spikes can lead to more than weight gain, they can also be a source for type 2 diabetes.
- Exercise. Exercise.
Although cardio is recommended to get your heart rate up, all types of exercise can help in the quest to prevent diabetes. The ADA recommends “aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility exercises/stretching, balance exercises, and activity throughout the day.”
- Keep an eye on snacking
Even with good intentions for the bigger meals of the day, snacking in-between lunch and dinner or late at night is often where many poor decisions are made – it’s just too easy to grab a candy bar or soda. Try exchanging unhealthy snack options for those with less sugar, fats, and processing.