November is American Diabetes Month
This November, the West Virginia Medical Institute supports American Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness of this ever-growing disease. For too many Americans, diabetes is thought of as a minor hindrance rather than a life-changing condition. By raising awareness of the seriousness of this disease, as well as sharing important preventative measures that can be implemented now to decrease your chances of developing diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease. Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to stop diabetes.
The financial cost of diabetes is staggering. The ADA estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. is $174 billion. Direct medical costs reach $116 billion and the average medical expenditure among people with diabetes is 2.3 times higher than those without the disease. Plus, the cost for caring for someone with diabetes accounts for $1 out of every $5 in total health care costs.
Medicare makes it affordable for seniors to get free diabetes screenings, including blood glucose testing. Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to talk to their doctors about the different screenings available to them.
There are several things that can be done to help lower chances of developing type 2 diabetes. First, it is a good idea to have cholesterol checked every five years, or more often if there’s a problem. Some steps to take to improve cholesterol:
Quit smoking; maintain a healthy weight - losing just 10-15 pounds can make a big difference; exercise most days of the week (brisk walking for 30 minutes/day is a good goal); eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet with plenty of fresh veggies, whole grains, and fruit and increase monounsaturated fats in your diet, including canola oil, avocado oil or olive oil.
Eating well to maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to lower risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.