Diabetes: The disease that affects every part of the body

Until now, you may not have thought much about diabetes. You probably know people who have type 2 and they seem to be OK. It makes you wonder, “How serious can it be?”
It’s a killer. How serious is that? While deaths from cancer, heart disease and stroke have declined significantly since 1987, deaths from diabetes increased by 45 percent. And that percentage will grow with each passing year unless individuals begin to take prevention more seriously.
Nearly 24 million Americans already have diabetes. That’s an amazing number, but another 57 million are at risk. They have pre-diabetes and may not realize it.
If you are overweight, don’t exercise and have been feeling pretty tired lately, it’s time to see your doctor for a glucose tolerance test.
Normal fasting glucose is below 100 mg/dl. A person with pre-diabetes has a level between 100 and 125 mg/dl. If the level is above 126, the person has diabetes.
The good news is that even if your glucose level is high, you can keep from getting type 2 diabetes. But you have to get serious about doing it.
* Get 30 minutes a day of regular exercise. You’ll have to do it anyway if you move to type 2, so why not walk or exercise to prevent it?
* Have a better diet. Eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer high-fat meats and dairy products. Consume fewer sugars, like regular soda, and fewer simple carbohydrates like those in white flour, doughnuts and rolls.
* Lose a few pounds. If you exercise and eat better, you probably will, but also eat smaller portions of foods. Even a 5 percent weight loss makes a difference, but 10 percent reduces type 2 risk by 58 percent.
In November, the American Diabetes Association asks, “How will you ‘Stop Diabetes?’ The future is in your hands.”