Diabetes is a growing epidemic; in 2012 statistic showed that 29.1 million Americans ( 9.3% of the population) had diabetes with 1.7 million new diagnoses every year. It’s estimated that 86 million Americans age 20 and older have prediabetes; a high blood glucose level that makes them more susceptible to contracting the disease.
Canadian studies show the situation is slightly better, but deteriorating fast, in 2009, almost 2.4 million Canadians (6.8%) were living with diabetes and from 1998 to 2009, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among Canadians increased by 70%.
The health impacts of diabetes are legion:
- Diabetics have six times the risk of heart disease or stroke
- Are 12 times more likely to contract end-stage renal disease
- Are almost 20 times more likely to have non-traumatic lower limb amputations
- Diabetes patients are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases
- Are likely to experience mortality rates twice that of their non-diabetic counterparts in every age group
- Are likely to face health care costs three to four times higher than people in their age groups who do not have diabetes
- Elderly diabetics have an increased risk of vision loss, cataracts and glaucoma
Diabetes comes at a high price too, costing Canada about $9 billion each year in healthcare and sick days. In the US, the 2012 diabetes healthcare bill came in at a whopping $245 billion.
Prevent diabetes in your family
While genetic composition makes it more likely for some to get diabetes, this pales in comparison with lifestyle and diet choices. Studies show that 90% of type 2 diabetes can be attributed to weight, lack of exercise, poor diet, alcohol consumption and smoking.
Here are some easy preventative measures to ensure that your family remains diabetes-free:
Hey you breakfast skippers! You are 35-50% more likely to be overweight or develop insulin resistance. If you don’t fuel your body in the morning, your liver releases stored glucose to keep up your blood sugar levels and your body’s response to insulin is reduced. Missing breakfast also increases your appetite, so you eat more over the rest of the day.
Of course not all breakfast is created equal, so avoid foods high in sugar and gluten like bagels or sugar cereals and go for whole foods that will sustain your blood sugar levels like oats, Ezekiel bread or muesli.
Lose just a few pounds
Yes, you can do it! There’s no need for an all-out body revamp, but weight is the primary contributing factor for type 2 diabetes. This is exacerbated by belly fat which is the result of stress. You see, when you feel anxious, stress hormones send extra fat to the belly and this additional weight desensitizes your body to insulin.
Dropping just 7% of your weight lowers your risk of diabetes by 58% which means a little weight loss works better than most preventative medications.
Get Seven Helpings of Fruit and Veg Daily
And throw in three servings of whole grains too. I know this sounds like a lot, but this kind of diet will sort out your weight loss issues, will keep your blood sugar level constant, will prevent diabetes and will help you to avoid other chronic illnesses.
Drink more Water…
And much less soda! Only one soda a day increases your risk of metabolic syndrome by 44% and people who drink just one soft drink a day are more likely to be overweight.
A Harvard study found that just 30 minutes of walking every day and a limit of 10 hours of TV a week reduced the risk of diabetes by 43%.
Cut out Fast Food
Foods high in trans fats contribute significantly to diabetes and two servings of red meat a week increases the risk of metabolic syndrome by 26 percent studies show, while a daily helping of fried foods raised it another 10 to 25 per cent.