November is American Diabetes Month and this Saturday, we’ll celebrate World Diabetes Day. There are more than 34 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes and among those who have died from COVID-19, 40 percent were living with the disease (diabetes.org). As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the country with no end in sight, it is more important than ever that we understand the symptoms of and ways to prevent the diseases that place millions of Americans in the high-risk category.
There are various types of diabetes, including Type 1 when the body produces little to no insulin (occurring at any age, but most frequently in children and adolescents), Type 2 when the body does not make good use of the insulin it does produce (more common in adults) and gestational (developing during pregnancy due to high blood glucose).
One in every four people with diabetes doesn’t know they have it, but there are distinct symptoms that should be brought to a physician’s attention if they are occurring, such as frequent urination, excessive thirst or hunger, unexplained weight loss, numbness in the hands or feet, fatigue, dry skin or sores that heal slowly.
Although type 1 and gestational diabetes are not preventable, there are several things we can all be doing to prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes. We’ve named a few below, but as with any health concerns, it’s important to work with a trusted health care provider to keep up with appropriate testing.
Know your risks.
Drink plenty of water.
Get regular physical activity.
Control your blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Follow a healthy eating plan that is low in carbs.
Avoid sugar, refined carbs and processed foods.
Refrain from becoming sedentary, even with the winter months ahead.
Eat plenty of fiber.
Spend time in the sun to increase Vitamin D levels.
Study the benefits of caffeinated beverages, like coffee and tea and the relationship to the prevention of type 2 diabetes.