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We can't stop the fight against Diabetes

In the context of World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated annually on November 14, at Alivia Health, we share information about this condition and tips for preventing Type 2 Diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects the way the body converts food into energy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes (during pregnancy).

CDC data indicates that more than 122 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes (34.2 million) or prediabetes (88 million). That's why every November, the International Diabetes Federation dedicates November 14 to raising awareness about this condition and highlighting the need to improve access to treatment for those who suffer from it.

Who is at risk for diabetes

The CDC established a number of factors that can put a person at risk for different types of diabetes. In the case of Prediabetes, those who:

  • Are overweight

  • Are 45 years of age or older

  • A parent or one of your brothers or sisters has type 2 diabetes.

  • Who are physically active less than three days a week.

  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or your baby weighed more than 9 pounds at birth.

  • Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk)

In the case of Type 2 Diabetes, the following are at risk:

  • Have prediabetes

  • Are overweight

  • Are 45 years or older

  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes

  • Are physically active less than 3 times a week

  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds

  • Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk)

Type 1 diabetes does not have risk factors as clear as the other types of diabetes, the CDC explains. "It is believed that what causes type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake)," they say.

Tips for Type 2 Diabetes prevention

Before having type 2 diabetes, most people have prediabetes, a blood sugar level that is higher than normal, but not high enough for the diagnosis of diabetes. Prediabetes is very common: More than 88 million adults in the United States have it, although 84% of them do not know it, according to CDC figures. The good news is that prediabetes can be reversed.

Experts and health care organizations recommend several lifestyle changes to prevent the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

  • Start with minimal changes. Making changes to your lifestyle and daily habits can be difficult, but you don't have to change everything at once. It's okay to start small.

  • Move more. Limit the time you spend sitting and try to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days a week.

  • Choose healthier foods and drinks most of the time. Select foods that are high in fiber and low in fat and sugar. Build a plate that includes a balance of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. In some cases, you may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your initial weight.

  • Seek help. It is possible to reverse prediabetes. Making a plan, tracking your progress, and getting support from your health care professional and loved ones can help you make the necessary lifestyle changes.

  • Keep up with your vaccinations. Vaccines against COVID-19 (booster shot, if eligible) and the flu are especially important for people who may be more likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 or the flu, such as those with diabetes.

More information about diabetes

For more details about diabetes, its symptoms, prevention, and treatment, visit the CDC website.

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