November is National Diabetes Month
Type 2 Diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It is a disease that occurs when the body has trouble responding to insulin, the hormone that that helps move the sugar (glucose) from our food into the cells in our body to use for energy. The result is high and/or uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Prediabetes is a condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
What better way to practice awareness this month than to learn about simple ways to prevent diabetes? The key is to start with small steps and remember that when we practice these things each day, they turn into consistent and healthy habits in our lives.
Below are some ways to start small that can lead to healthier habits and lowered risk of developing prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a free, quick, and easy resource to assess your risk of developing diabetes. Take The Test
Find a form of physical activity that feels good to you. You can speak with a healthcare professional to find safe ways to exercise if you have not been active. Walking is a great place to start. Aim for 30 minutes of movement 5 days a week.
Add color to your plate. Think about what fruits and vegetables you can add to your plate to bring balance to your eating and boost the nutrients you get in each meal. Use MyPlate (pictured) as a guide for portioning.
Find your support system.
Making a plan and sticking to it can be easier with help from healthcare professionals and support from loved ones. Identify friends and family members who can help keep you on track. Ask your doctor about seeing an Avance Care Registered Dietitian for nutrition counseling for diabetes or prediabetes management.
Check your lab values.
Ask your doctor if you are up to date with routine lab work, or request tests to be done in order to check your risk for developing diabetes. Follow this link to better understand what tests are involved in diagnosing prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes: Diabetes & Prediabetes Tests | NIDDK (nih.gov)
Ask for help.
You don’t have to do this alone. There are many programs and groups to be a part of when it comes to preventing or managing diabetes. Visit this link to get involved: National Diabetes Prevention Program | Diabetes | CDC. Don’t forget that the state of North Carolina also has a free Diabetes Prevention Program. You can sign up here: ESMM Prevent Diabetes – Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes.
With the steps listed above, taking charge of your health in the prevention or management of diabetes can be made easier. Remember that change takes time! If setbacks happen, it is important to focus on the successes each day and keep moving forward. Book an appointment today with an Avance Care dietitian for nutrition counseling that fits with your lifestyle.