This Monday, November 14th is World Diabetes Day.
Diabetes is a huge and growing problem. Currently, 415 million adults are living with diabetes worldwide, and the disease is expected to affect approximately 642 million people by 2040. One in two adults are living with diabetes that has not been diagnosed. This delaying of the diagnosis can lead to more serious complications from the disease. Some of these complications associated with Type 2 diabetes include blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. Global health spending to treat and manage diabetes complications were estimated to be $673 billion in 2015.
While these statistics are staggering and downright scary, we can prevent or delay the onset of up to 70% of Type 2 diabetes cases by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Usually a combination of things can cause Type 2 diabetes such as genetics, being overweight (especially with extra fat around the waist), high blood glucose, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and sometimes just bad communication between our cells which affects how we make and use insulin or glucose. While some risk factors we just cannot change, such as age, family history, or being of a certain ethnicity (African American, Native American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander-Americans have higher risk of getting the disease), other lifestyle risk factors are in your control.
- Lose weight. Dropping just 10% of your weight can cut your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in half.
- Be active! A brisk walk for just thirty minutes each day can cut your risk by almost one third.
- Eat right. Consume a plant-based diet, rich in whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit and avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and saturated fats.
- Quit smoking. Work with your health care professional to avoid gaining weight, so you don’t create one problem by solving another.
Some of the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can be so mild; most people don’t notice them at first. In fact, 8 million people who have the disease do not know it yet. If you experience any of these symptoms, it may be time to call you MD for a check up and some blood work.
- Blurry vision
- Peeing a lot
- Being irritable
- Being very thirsty
- Tingling or numbness in your hands or feet
- Wounds that are slow to heal
Prevention is the best treatment for Type 2 diabetes. Spread the word on World Diabetes Day: Tell your family and friends to get screened to ensure early diagnosis and optimal health.