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November Is National Diabetes Month – Ways to Prevent Its Onset

With November as National Diabetes Months, it’s important for everyone to be aware of this disease and its complications, including being a major contributor to amputation.

Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Symptoms of the disease include increased thirst and urination, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and blurred vision. But many people have no symptoms and don’t know they have diabetes.

So, if you haven’t had a recent health screening, this month is a perfect time to see your physician and have an honest discussion to see if you are at risk or have a pre-diabetic condition.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA):

  • 263,000 people in Ohio have diabetes but don’t know it.
  • There are 3,039,000 people in Ohio (33.6% of the adult population) who have prediabetes with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
  • Every year an estimated 52,000 people in Ohio are diagnosed with diabetes.

If you discover that you do have prediabetes, remember that it doesn’t mean you’ll develop type 2, particularly if you follow a treatment plan and make changes to your lifestyle through food choices and physical activity. Even small changes can have a huge impact on delaying or preventing diabetes all together.

The ADA recommends working with a health care professional to make a plan that works for your lifestyle, or look for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognized lifestyle change program, guided by a lifestyle coach trained to use a CDC-approved curriculum, where you will meet other people who are working to prevent diabetes.

During the first half of the CDC program, you will learn to:

  • Eat healthy without giving up all the foods you love.
  • Add physical activity to your life, even if you don’t think you have time.
  • Deal with stress.
  • Cope with challenges that can derail your hard work — like how to choose healthy food when eating out.
  • Get back on track if you stray from your plan — because everyone slips now and then.

In the second half of the program, you will enhance the skills you’ve learned so you can maintain the changes you’ve made. These sessions will review key ideas such as tracking your food and physical activity, setting goals, staying motivated, and overcoming barriers.

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