With November being National Diabetes Month, now is the perfect time to bring awareness to the condition. It’s important to evaluate your own health and determine whether you are at risk. For those living with diabetes, it’s equally important to make sure you are properly managing your diagnosis.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes with 1.4 million Americans diagnosed every year. In addition, 86 million – or more than 1 in 3 adults – are pre-diabetic. These people are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The seriousness of the disease is highlighted by the fact that diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

Prevent the Onset of Diabetes

There are several things you can do to prevent the onset of diabetes. First, take a look at your current health and talk with your physician to establish if you’re at risk. The most common risk factors include being overweight, having a family history, or developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Do you enjoy a snack after dinner? Try switching from your salty or sweet favorites to fruit or yogurt. If you’re not usually active, start out by going for a 15 minute walk each day and eventually increase the minutes over time. As you are able to successfully maintain these healthy eating and active routines, gradually add in more. Swap pancakes for whole grain cereal at breakfast, or sign-up for a weekly exercise class.

Over time, these small changes will add up and can have a big impact on both your weight and overall health. Reaching and staying at a healthy weight is a major factor in preventing type 2 diabetes.

Managing Diabetes for Healthy Living

When you are diagnosed with diabetes, it’s especially important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If not treated properly, it can cause serious health issues, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and possible lower extremity complications. It’s important to visit your doctor regularly, get an A1c blood glucose test at least twice a year, and annually test your kidney function. Your physician will conduct a thorough foot exam once a year, but you should also regularly check your feet for any sores.

Having diabetes can be serious. However, even these little changes in your lifestyle can prevent serious problems. Help control your condition today for a healthier tomorrow.

If you have questions about diabetes, call Megan Kosminski RN, at (716) 298-2297.

Register for our class, Taking Charge of Your Diabetes, by calling Catholic Health’s HealthConnection at (716) 447-6205.

Megan Kosmoski RN, BSN, Health Educator