November 14th is World Diabetes Day. Over the past few decades, we have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of new diabetes patients, especially with type 2 diabetes in children. In 2011, 25.8 million Americans (children and adults) had diabetes. That’s 8.3% of the entire population. Another 79 million are prediabetic. And the worst part, 1 in every 400 children has diabetes.
The International Diabetes Foundation, in collaboration with several other health organizations, established World Diabetes Day in honor of the birthday of Frederick Banting, who helped to discover insulin. Across the world, people untie under the blue circle in order to “protect our future” through education and prevention.
In keeping with the theme of education and prevention, we’ve compiled a handy list of symptoms and preventative steps:
Five symptoms and signs of diabetes:
- unusual thirst
- frequent urination
- blurred vision
- extreme fatigue or weakness
- frequent infections or slow-healing cuts/sores
Oftentimes, people who show none of these symptoms may still be prediabetic. If you are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, or if you are 45 years or older, it’s especially important to have blood work done by your doctor. By catching the disease before it forms, you can prevent type 2 diabetes, along with the multitude of health problems associated with it.
Five ways to prevent prediabetes from turning into diabetes:
- maintain a healthy diet
- lose weight (even 5% – 10% can make a big impact)
- stop smoking
- treat other cardiovascular problems, such as blood pressure or high cholesterol
According to the American Diabetes Association, “just 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, coupled with about a 7% reduction in body weight, produced a 58% reduction in diabetes.”
Wear blue today in support of diabetes education and make sure to pass along these tips to your friends and family so they can stop the problem before it starts!
Learn more about healthy eating in our MyPlate Mondays series.