By Russell Durkee, DO
Published in Healthy Viewpoints
Recently, I was reviewing the statistics for diabetes risk factors and was surprised by the percentage of patients that could take action to reduce their risk factors for developing the disease. These risk factors can be separated into things we can change ourselves and those factors with which we may need a physician’s help.
Diabetes is a disease involving the way our body uses sugar. There are two types of diabetes. Type one and type two. Type two diabetes is the most common, it occurs when we get older, and is the one this article will cover. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to the following complications: blindness, kidney disease, leg or foot amputations, heart disease and other potential problems, even death. The major risks that can lead to type two diabetes are being overweight, having high blood pressure or cholesterol, lack of physical activity, smoking, and a diet low in fiber.
Recent statistics show some alarming diabetes risks that people in Wisconsin face.
20% are obese
58% are overweight
25% have high blood pressure
32% have high cholesterol
77% do not perform enough physical activity
78% eat less than 5 servings of fruits or vegetables that give fiber. *The total percent of people that actually have diabetes is 21%. That’s one out of every five people.
You can improve your chances. Evidence has shown that when people changed their lifestyle, including a routine that involved 30 minutes of daily physical activity and an improved diet, they reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent!
Calories in equal calories out. You can modify your weight by reducing your meal portion size and eating fewer carbohydrate and fatty foods to lower your calorie intake. Secondly, through increased daily physical activity you will “burn” more calories off. Once you have been cleared by your doctor, take this as an opportunity to enjoy our beautiful outdoors, learn a new creative activity and burn
For high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol you will need the help of your doctor. Check your blood pressure every two years and see a medical professional if it is higher than120/80. Your cholesterol should be checked every five years. Like hypertension, there are many ways that your doctor can help you control your cholesterol if it is elevated.
One of the most devastating risk factors is also one of the most preventable. Cigarette smoking is more than just a risk for diabetes. Smokers also have increased risk for lung and heart disease. If you are a smoker, please consider speaking with a medical professional about assistance with quitting.
Type two diabetes is a major cause of illness and death in our state and our country. By changing some of the risk factors you can significantly lower your chances of getting diabetes, you will lower your risks for many other diseases and you will look and feel better. You can do it!
(* From The 2000 Burden of Diabetes in Eau Claire County by the ADA)