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November is American Diabetes Month, so I thought it was a good time to talk about the disease.
- 7.8% of the population (23.6 million) people have diabetes
- Hispanic/Latino Americans are 1.8 times more likely to have diabetes than whites
- African Americans are 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes than whites
- If current trends continue, 1 in 3 Americans and 1 in 2 minorities born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime
What is Diabetes?
The American Diabetes Association says the following:
"Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles."
Diabetes can increase risk of the following diseases:
- Heart disease and stroke: risk is 2-4 times higher in people with diabetes.
- Kidney disease: Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure
- Amputations: More than 60% of nontraumatic lower limb amputations occur in people with diabetes
- Blindness: Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults aged 20-74.
- Get your fasting blood glucose tested every year during your annual physical.
- Maintain a healthy weight. People who are overweight are at much higher risk of diabetes.
- Eat light and eat often. Eat very small meals and have healthy snacks between meals
- Eat low glycemic foods. Avoid foods high in sugar, and look for foods that have fiber and/or protein.