More than 100 million U.S. adults are living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The agency says the number of adults with diabetes has tripled over the last two decades.
Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Nurse Terry Duke, with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, explained the disease. She said, “It’s the inability of the body to control your blood sugars.” For people living with diabetes, their bodies are not making enough, or properly using, insulin. Insulin is the hormone which controls blood sugar.
Duke says excess blood sugar can lead to a host of health complications, including: blindness, amputation, kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Type 1 diabetes is not preventable and is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by eating healthy and maintaining an active lifestyle.
Upstate resident Al Waits was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes about a year ago and this was motivation enough to make changes in his lifestyle. He said, “I have two grandsons, [ages] eight and four, and I want to be there as long as I can for them.” He took a class about diabetes through Bon Secours St. Francis Health. Waits said, “The thing you learn most, is about the nutrition side: what’s good for you, what’s bad for you.”
Waits said he has changed his diet to combat his diagnosis. He said, “A year ago I was at 230 [pounds]; this morning I weighed myself and I was at 206.” Through his diet changes, Waits said he is able to control his diabetes without medicine.
Duke reflected on the millions of Americans struggling with diabetes or pre-diabetes. “America is the greatest country in the world, but we’re actually killing ourselves with our food.” She explained that there are more than 80 million people in the United States that are considered to have prediabetes.
The CDC says with prediabetes, a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. However, pre-diabetes can be reversed.
Duke said, “If [those with prediabetes] don’t change their lifestyle, their food, their activity, their weight, they’re going to be a diabetic within 5 years.”
For more information on diabetes, click here.
For more information on prediabetes, click here.
For more information about how to stay healthy, tune in to hear the experts at Bon Secours every Saturday at 10 a.m. on 106.3 WORD radio.
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