November is American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. It can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems if it’s not controlled.  One in 10 Americans have diabetes — that’s more than 30 million people. And another 84 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  The good news?    People who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than half if they make healthy changes. These changes include: eating healthy, getting more physical activity, and losing weight.

Take Steps to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

The Basics

Diabetes (“dy-ah-BEE-teez”) is a leading cause of disability and death in the United States. Diabetes increases the risk of serious health problems like:  Blindness, Nerve damage ,Kidney disease, Heart disease , and Stroke.

The good news is that you can do a lot to prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes, including: Watching your weight, Eating healthy  and Staying active

What is diabetes?

Diabetes means you have glucose (sugar) levels in your blood that are higher than usual. Your body depends on glucose for energy. When you eat, most of the food turns into glucose. Your blood carries the glucose to other parts of your body.

When you have diabetes, your body has trouble turning glucose into energy. Instead of being used by your body, the glucose builds up in your blood and your body is starved of energy.  Diabetes is a chronic (long-term) condition.


What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. People who are overweight are more likely to get type 2 diabetes.

What other types of diabetes are there?

  • Type 1 diabetesis caused by a problem with the immune system (the system that helps fight infection). Right now, there’s no way to prevent type 1 diabetes.
  • Gestational (“jes-TAY-shon-al”) diabetes is a type of diabetes that some women develop during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes increases the risk of health problems for you and your baby. For example, gestational diabetes can make it more likely that you’ll develop type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.

Am I at risk for type 2 diabetes?

You may be at risk for type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Are over age 40
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have a parent or sibling with diabetes
  • Are African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native American, Alaska Native, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
  • Have had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome (when a woman’s ovaries produce more male hormones than usual)
  • Have high blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Exercise less than 3 times a week
  • Have prediabetes


What is prediabetes?

If you have prediabetes, the glucose levels in your blood are higher than usual – but not high enough to mean you have type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, like heart disease and stroke.

The good news about prediabetes is that healthy changes, like losing weight and getting enough physical activity, can stop it from becoming type 2 diabetes.  Find our more information

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop over several years. Many people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms for a long time without noticing them. Some people may never notice any symptoms.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Being very thirsty or hungry
  • Feeling tired for no reason
  • Urinating (going to the bathroom) more than usual
  • Losing weight for no reason
  • Having cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
  • Having trouble seeing (blurry vision)
  • Losing feeling or having tingling in your hands or feet

Because symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be hard to spot, it’s important to talk with your doctor about your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you notice any symptoms, ask your doctor about getting tested.


Eat healthy.

Eating healthy means getting enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients – and limiting unhealthy foods and drinks. Eating healthy also means getting the number of calories that’s right for you (not eating too much or too little).

To eat healthy, be sure to get plenty of:

  • Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, seeds, and nuts

It’s also important to limit:

  • Sodium (salt)
  • Added sugars – like refined (regular) sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and honey
  • Saturated fats, which come from animal products like cheese, fatty meats, whole milk, and butter, and plant products like palm and coconut oils
  • Transfats, which may be in foods like stick margarines, coffee creamers, and some desserts
  • Refined grains which are in foods like cookies, white bread, and some snack foods


Eating healthy foods can help you control your weight – and help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. If you have any type of diabetes, eating healthy can also help manage your condition.

Choose foods that are low in saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium (salt). Try these healthy recipes.

Get active.

Getting active can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.  Regular physical activity is good for everyone’s health! Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate activity each week.

If you haven’t been active before, start at a comfortable level. Once you get the hang of it, add a little more activity each time. Then try getting active more often.


What kinds of activity should I do?

To get all the health benefits of physical activity, do a combination of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

  • Aerobic(“air-OH-bik”) activities make you breathe harder and cause your heart to beat faster. Walking fast is an example of aerobic activity.
  • Muscle-strengtheningactivities make your muscles stronger. Muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and doing push-ups.


It can also help manage any type of diabetes. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, like walking fast or biking.

Watch your weight.

If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, losing weight from eating healthy and getting active can help lower your risk.

To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. Use a tracking tool to record your weight, what you eat, and how active you are each day.

You can also use a notebook, journal, or smart phone to keep a record of:

  • All the meals and snacks you eat each day
  • The number of calories and grams of fat in your food
  • How many minutes of physical activity you do each day
  • Your weight each time you weigh yourself

Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. 

  • Starting at age 18, get your blood pressure checked If you are over age 40 or if you are at higher risk for high blood pressure, get your blood pressure checked once a year.
  • It’s important to get your cholesterol checkedat least every 4 to 6 years. Some people will need to get it checked more or less often. If your cholesterol is high, talk with your doctor about steps you can take to lower it.