Would you be surprised to know that on average, not only are Western New Yorkers less healthy than other New York State residents, but also compared to the rest of the country?
Data from the NYS Department of Health reports that Erie County residents are 33% more likely to die from heart disease than the average U.S. citizen – that’s a big difference! Given our region’s love for a good slice of pizza and chicken wings to watch the game with, that may not be shocking to most.
Committing to a healthier lifestyle can significantly reduce an individual’s risk for two of the most prominent health problems in our area – cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
We’re Living in the Era of Type 2 Diabetes
The CDC is reporting that 90-95% of all American diabetes cases are diagnosed type 2. Certainly, some causes that increase an individual’s risk factors – for example, genetics – are beyond a person’s control.
Other risk factors for type 2, however, can be managed efficiently by a well-balanced diet and active lifestyle. These include:
- Being overweight
- High blood sugar
- High triglyceride levels – fat in the blood
The good news? These risk factors are common ground between a number of serious health concerns, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Meaning, if a patient is able to work with their doctor to control these risk factors, they’ll lower their risk for more than one condition.
“The longer you live with type 2 diabetes mellitus, the higher the likelihood that it will cause damage to the parts of the body most affected – such as the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. We also know that the longer you have diabetes, the harder it is for your doctor to treat, and the less likely they may be to gain adequate control.
In other words, don’t wait… act now! Even a 5% or 10% reduction in weight has been shown to cause substantial improvements in blood sugars.”
Making the Connection Between Diabetes and Heart Health
When it comes to diabetes prevention and heart health, a healthy lifestyle is a “one size fits all” method. Making smart choices and advocating for wellness in your day-to-day life can benefit you, both at your next doctor’s appointment and in the long run.
You can achieve this by:
Eating a well-balanced diet by incorporating lots of fresh produce, lean means, and healthy fats into your meals. While doing so, it’s important to limit over-processed food and moderate your alcohol intake.
Using a calculator to learn whether you have a healthy BMI. If yours is a little higher than doctors would like to see, speak with your primary care provider about smart ways to lose weight.
Tobacco products can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular health. Take the first steps toward quitting today by attending one of our Smoking Cessation classes.
Get into an exercise routine that you don’t dread. Especially if your job involves sitting behind a desk for the majority of the day, take a group fitness class or set a walking goal to get yourself moving! The current recommendation is 150 minutes a week.