Why are diabetes rates so high in Pennsylvania, and what can be done to lower them?
Incidences of diabetes are on the rise across America, and Pennsylvania is no exception. More than 1.3 million Pennsylvanians have diabetes, and an additional 3 million residents have prediabetes—higher than normal blood glucose levels—according to the American Diabetes Association. The types of diabetes—Type 1 and Type 2—are what results when your body has difficulty producing insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in blood.
The first step to avoid becoming a part of the increasing diabetes rate is knowing if you are at risk. Talk to your doctor about your family history, current health status, and lifestyle habits, such as diet and exercise. You also can have regular screening tests, which can help you know what lifestyle changes you can make before it is too late.
Type 1 accounts for 5 percent of Pennsylvanians living with diabetes. There is no known cause for Type 1, and it is usually diagnosed in childhood, according to Healthline. Genetics and other factors contribute to the disease, but a cure or prevention of Type 1 is unknown.
The majority of Pennsylvanians who have diabetes have Type 2. If you have prediabetes, are overweight, or have a family history of diabetes, your risk increases.
Three ways to lower risk of diabetes
- Eating healthy
Meal preparation and planning can help ensure you are eating good food. This can ease worrying over what you can and cannot eat. Once you become familiar with a healthy diet, it will come naturally to shop for better, healthier ingredients.
The ADA recommends including complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat, fruits, and vegetables, as a staple of your diet. Foods to avoid include processed simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, pasta, white bread, flour, cookies, and pastries.
- Exercising regularly
Regular exercise is good for your body, whether you have diabetes or not. Exercising can help you lose weight and stay healthy. It is recommended that you are active for at least 60 minutes per day. If you are too busy for this, you can take 10,000 steps to increase your stamina and get your body moving.
Motivate yourself by creating daily and weekly goals. Meet your goals through steps or time increments. For example, you can make a daily goal to walk for 30 minutes and then increase your goal to 35 minutes starting the next week.
- Controlling your weight
Controlling your weight can help you treat Type 2 diabetes. One way to control your weight is to track it. You can do this by weighing yourself at the same time every day. Ideally, you write your weight in a notebook or journal to detect any fluctuations. Staying healthy and tracking your weight help you prevent and treat diabetes.
A diabetes diagnosis can be scary, but treating the disease doesn’t have to be. Through eating healthier, exercising regularly, and controlling your weight, you can be healthier and decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.