November is Diabetes Awareness month for a reason! Over the next couple of months, chances are you, someone you know or possibly everyone you know will be celebrating the upcoming holiday season with generous helpings of delicious foods. Food certainly makes this time of year that much more enjoyable but keep in mind that the holidays also present opportunities for overeating and developing bad habits.
Therefore, it’s also the perfect opportunity for us to educate ourselves on our health risks and adopt healthy eating habits.
Diabetes is the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Hyperglycemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels. Diabetes affects nine percent of adults around the world including an estimated 29.1 million people in the United States alone and is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.
Check out these free promotional materials created at diabetes.org
There are three primary forms of diabetes:
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed in approximately 5 to 10% of all pregnancies.
Type 1 diabetes is characterized by deficient insulin production and requires daily administration of insulin. The cause of type 1 diabetes is not known and it is not preventable with current knowledge.
Type 2 diabetes results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. Type 2 diabetes comprises 90% of people with diabetes around the world and is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Individuals from racial and ethnic minority communities are at an increased risk for developing and having type 2 diabetes, American Indians/Alaska Natives having the highest rates of the disease at an estimated 15.9%. The second highest rate of type 2 diabetes occurs among African Americans (13.2%), followed by Latinos (12.8%), Asian Americans (9.0%) and non-Hispanic Whites (7.6%).
Additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
- Age (individuals 45 years and older are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes)
- Family history of diabetes
- Physical inactivity
What you can do
Although age and family history are uncontrollable risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, there are still ways to help decrease your risk. Lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical activity are key in reducing the risk for developing and managing the disease.
For PPEs it is also important to educate your peers on healthy eating habits and maintaining active lifestyles.
Podcast on managing diabetes presented by NIH’s National Diabetes Education Program – Managing Diabetes Series (6)
Road to Health Toolkit – provides materials to start a community outreach program reinforcing the message that type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented. The Road to Health Training Guide (available in English and Spanish) use the Road to Health Training Video to assist with conducting trainings