March 29th marks the observance of American Diabetes Alert Day. Established by the American Diabetes Association and observed on the fourth Tuesday in March, American Diabetes Alert Day seeks to raise awareness on how severe diabetes can be and the importance of understanding one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, approximately 37.3 million people have diabetes but 8.5 million of those individuals are undiagnosed. In order to help you become aware of the risks and preventative measures that can be taken, we’re here to share some advice on this special observance.
1. Educate yourself on diabetes
In order to effectively implement any preventive measures, it is first imperative to understand the background of the disease. Diabetes is a chronic condition that impacts the means to which your body can transform food into energy. While the pathway from food to energy is complex, the important takeaway that ties into diabetes is that the insulin produced in response to food consumption either isn’t present or cannot be used. There are 4 types of diabetes, type 1, type 2, gestational, and prediabetes. The latter three are preventable while type 1 is categorized as an autoimmune disorder.
2. Know the risk factors
Understanding the risk factors that make you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes is important in preventing its onset. The risk factors include having prediabetes, being overweight, having a family member with type 2 diabetes, low physical activity, have previously had gestational diabetes, and over the age of 45. The same risk factors apply for prediabetes while the risk factors for gestational diabetes pertain specially for pregnant women. Those risk factors include haven given birth to a baby over 9lbs, are overweight, older than 25, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, have polycystic ovary syndrome, or having had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy.
3. Get tested if necessary
If you’re someone who possesses a great deal of risk factors for diabetes, then it is important to get tested to see if you have it. The sooner you find out, the sooner you can figure out what your next steps are. Screening for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is recommended for adults aged 35 to 70 years old who are overweight or obese. Screening is typically done for pregnant women to check for gestational diabetes at around 24 weeks pregnant. To learn more about screening procedures, visit https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/getting-tested.
4. Build healthy habits
Whether you’re preventing the onset of diabetes or trying to manage life with diabetes, it is important to build healthy habits that help you promote good wellbeing. Some healthy habits include eating healthful foods, ensuring you get an hour of physical activity a day, and if necessary, losing any unnecessary weight to maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, keeping tabs on your vitals daily will help you notice quickly if anything is a cause for concern.
Now that you’re equipped with sound advice to make the most of this Diabetes Alert Day, it’s important to put into action what you’ve learned. If you’re interested in learning more ways to promote your healthy wellbeing every day, check out our other blog posts!