Diabetes: How big is the risk?
Did you know that one in four people have diabetes and don't even know it? Could you be one of them? If so, you're in "good company." About 26 million Americans have diabetes. And, another 79 million adults in the U.S. have a condition that could turn into diabetes (prediabetes).1
Diabetes happens when your body can't use glucose (a type of sugar) the right way. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter cells, where they use this sugar as a source of energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or it can't respond well to insulin. Then you can have symptoms of too much glucose, such as increased urination, extreme thirst, and weight loss for no known reason.2
Certain people are more likely than others to get diabetes. Here's something that may come as a surprise: During the 12 years of a recent study, diabetes doubled in Asian Americans, most of whom were immigrants. And they were more likely than Caucasians to have diabetes, even though they were less likely to be carrying around extra weight, which is a risk factor for diabetes.3
What could account for this? Researchers think it's a combination of genes and lifestyle. It could be that Asians are more susceptible to a poor diet. And, they are more likely to carry any extra weight they do have around their middles. This visceral fat is linked to type 2 diabetes.3
Diabetes is not something to ignore. If left uncontrolled, it can lead to a whole host of complications, including high blood pressure, kidney failure, eye problems, and nerve damage.4 That's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. A deadly duo can be in store when diabetes is combined with other health problems. For reasons not well understood, women with both breast cancer and diabetes have a 50 percent increased risk of dying.5 And, when combined with depression, diabetes means you're twice as likely to die, especially from heart disease. It could be that people with depression may find it harder to take care of themselves. So you can see why it's so important to address both conditions.6
How can you help prevent this serious disease? The steps are simple, but not always easy to do. Healthy diet and weight control are critical. So, too, is physical activity. A recent Australian study showed that the more you walk, the lower your risk of diabetes. They tracked nearly 600 middle-aged adults for five years, giving them a pedometer to use. Here's what they found: People who walked 10,000 steps daily at least 5 days a week were three times more protected against diabetes than those who walked just 3,000 steps a day – even when other factors such as diet, smoking, and alcohol were taken into account.7
What else can you do? Well, check with me, of course. I can point you to any diabetes information or products our store provides to either help you prevent diabetes or better manage the disease, if you already have it.
1. American Diabetes Association: "Number of Americans With Diabetes Rises to Nearly 26 Million." http://professional.diabetes.org/News_Display.aspx?CID=83450
2. Nemours Foundation: "Diabetes Mellitus." http://kidshealth.org/parent/diabetes_center/words_know/diabetes_mellitus.html
"Asian Americans show higher diabetes rates." http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_107673.html
4. American Diabetes Association: "Complications." http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/?utm_source=WWW&utm_medium=DropDownLWD&utm_content=Complications&utm_campaign=CON
5. MedlinePlus: "Breast Cancer Patients With Diabetes May Fare Worse." http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_107673.html
6. MedlinePlus: "The More You Walk, the Lower Your Diabetes Risk: Study." http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_107661.html
7. MedlinePlus: "In Women, Diabetes Plus Depression a Deadly Combo." http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_107258.html