Live Your Best Life:
Diabetes is a leading health issue but its complications can be easily prevented and controlled with thoughtful planning and persistence
Diabetes poses a substantial health risk to many Americans across the United States. According to the CDC “34.2 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it.”
So what exactly is diabetes, how does someone get it, and how can it be prevented or managed?
Diabetes is a chronic health disorder that creates complications in how the body converts foods into nutrients at the cellular level. This mostly has to do with the presence of the chemical hormone called insulin. Under normal circumstances you eat food and the food is broken down into a simple sugar called glucose. Insulin is then released into the body by the pancreas as a kind of regulator that allows the glucose to enter the body’s cells for use as energy. When someone has diabetes their body either does not respond properly to the presence of insulin or does not produce enough insulin. In both cases the result is that too much glucose remains in the blood and this can lead to severe complications including kidney disease, heart disease, and vision loss.
What are the types of diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes
Approximately 5-10% of people diagnosed with diabetes suffer from type 1, which is acquired genetically and is believed to be the result of an autoimmune reaction that causes the body to not produce enough insulin. There is no known means to prevent the onset of type 1.
Type 2 Diabetes
Around 90-95% of diagnosed diabetes cases are made of people with type. This form of the disorder is the result of lifestyle behaviors such as physical activity and diet and is caused by the body failing to respond to insulin as a result of the long-term build-up of the effects of these lifestyle habits. Type 2 can be prevented and managed through responsible dietary practices and regular exercise.
A third type of diabetes can develop during pregnancy for women who have otherwise never been diabetic. While the symptoms usually recede after pregnancy, the onset of this disorder puts both the child and mother at higher risk for the development of type 2 diabetes later in life.
Over 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. are classified as prediabetic meaning they have higher than suggested glucose levels. While not bringing about the damage of diabetes, this condition puts individuals at this status at much higher risk of contracting type 2 diabetes. 80% of those with this condition have no idea that they are in this high-risk group.
Prevention and Management
While there is no cure for diabetes once diagnosed, the good news is that the disease’s onset can be prevented and its effects can be managed through the careful planning of a healthy lifestyle.
This means maintaining a diet with reduced sugars, sodium, and carbohydrates; drinking plenty of water; eating a diet composed of 50% or more in non-starchy vegetables including high amounts of leafy green veggies; consuming healthy fats such as those that come from fish, avocados, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate; taking in lots of fiber; and controlling portions.
As far as being active, you should have a consistent routine of at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, no less than 5 days a week.
USFHP is your choice provider when it comes to tackling preventable disorders like type 2 diabetes, and managing diabetes of any type after diagnosis. Our $250 annual gym reimbursement option is offered to our members through our exclusive enhanced benefits program with our TRICARE prime plan. Such an offering is a vital part of maintaining the healthy lifestyle needed to successfully avoid or manage chronic health disorders like diabetes. Visit our website here to learn more.
We recently partnered with Welldoc, a highly recognized healthcare technology leader, to design a unique app experience just for you. Their award-winning diabetes app, BlueStar, makes it easy for you to track your glucose levels, exercise, meals and more. Every time you track in BlueStar you get real-time feedback that helps you feel more confident about managing your diabetes. Visit the app store on your smartphone to download the “BlueStar Diabetes” app and enter the access code: DM4U. For more information about BlueStar, call 1-888-611-4794.
Call now at 1-800-241-4848 and let us get you covered.