Small changes, significant results
According to the National Institutes of Health, diabetes is the leading
cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations and new
cases of blindness among adults in the United States, as well as a major
cause of heart disease and stroke. In addition to the 23.6 million people
who already have diabetes, another 57 million have pre-diabetes. Defined
as having higher-than-normal blood glucose levels, pre-diabetes greatly
increases the risk of developing full-blown type 2 diabetes.
Genetics and lifestyle
Although diabetes can affect people of all ages and races, some groups
are at greater risk, including African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans,
Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, older adults and people with a family
history of diabetes. "When it comes to lifestyle factors, diabetes
is an equal opportunity disease," says Stacy Colich, St. Luke's
clinical dietitian and diabetes educator. "Being overweight or physically
inactive, or having high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides,
will also increase your risk."
Excellent return on investment
"The good news is that even small lifestyle changes can help improve
your overall health," says Colich. According to the Diabetes Prevention
Program (DPP) study, people with pre-diabetes can often prevent their
condition from progressing through weight control and regular exercise.
Even losing as few as 10 to 15 pounds and walking 30 minutes per day can
reduce your risk of diabetes by 50 percent.
If you have one or more risk factors for type 2 diabetes, talk to your
doctor about getting tested for diabetes or pre-diabetes. With the help
of a certified diabetes educator, you can lower your risk, improve your
health and enjoy a better quality of life for the long term.
To learn more, call
St. Luke's Diabetes Care at 218.249.5231.