Diabetes is a costly epidemic! Learn more about it now, before Thanksgiving’s temptation to over indulge.
By David Martin, President and CEO of VeinInnovations
We’re preparing to tuck into Thanksgiving dinners around the VeinInnovations office. Thursday can’t come soon enough! Thoughts of turkey, sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, and the rest make the workdays before Thanksgiving seem longer than usual.
Even with the stresses that often accompany large family gatherings, most of us are looking forward to cooking dinner this Turkey Day. There’s not much that can beat the smell of homemade cranberry sauce, a roasting turkey, and a pumpkin pie fresh out of the oven. Cooking is a social ritual that draws us together, after all.
Cooking from scratch is also a great way to improve our health. That’s one of the main messages of American Diabetes Month, which is happening right now. It’s an appropriate month to raise awareness. Thanksgiving kicks off the holidays and the attendant tendency to overindulge.
Diabetes is increasingly common in the United States. About 3 million people have Type 1 diabetes. Twenty-seven million people live with Type 2 diabetes. An astounding 86 million people have prediabetes, which means they have high blood sugar and are at risk of developing diabetes. More than nine percent of Americans (9.3%) have some form of diabetes.
Though diabetes is more common these days, it’s not easy to live with. Diabetes requires near constant consideration. Blood sugar has to be checked three or four times a day (sometimes more.) Every food and drink choice matters and must be covered with enough insulin. A high or low blood sugar is at the least inconvenient and unpleasant. At most, it can be deadly.
The complications stemming from diabetes include cardiovascular disease as well as nerve, kidney, eye, and foot damage. The financial cost of diabetes is major, too; the American Diabetes Association, estimates diabetes and related costs were to be $245 billion in 2012.
The forecast is grim, as the CDC expects two out of every five Americans will develop diabetes at some point in their lifetime. But we can change that! Knowing risk factors and making simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
So before you celebrate with family (and second helpings!) on Turkey Day, spend some time learning about diabetes. You may temper your appetite, and opt for a walk after dinner instead of, or in addition to, your nap!
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes
- Being overweight
- Exercising less than three times, or 150 minutes, a week
- Being over age 45
- Having gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant)
- Having a parent or sibling with diabetes
- Being African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American-Indian, Asian-American, or have a Pacific-Islander family background
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes or Prediabetes
- Turn off the TV. Every two hours spent in front of the TV increases your chance of developing diabetes by 14 percent. Replace time spent in front of the TV with more active pursuits. (If you are going to stay glued to the games during the holidays, make yourself get up and march during commercials to help lower blood sugar, burn calories, and improve your circulation.)
- Get moving! Even walking can make a difference – really. Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise a week at the least.
- Make some dietary changes. Read more about the type of changes that are most beneficial here.
- Quit smoking. Smokers are 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes.
Great day the Saturday before Thanksgiving at the American Diabetes Expo! VeinInnovations CEO David Martin screened more than 30 people at the event at the Cobb Galleria. Hundreds of visitors to the VeinInnovations booth learned more about the link between varicose and spider veins, leg pain, swelling, and restlessness, and how these are symptoms of a medical condition that degrades quality of life, Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). For more information about chronic venous insufficiency, veininnovations.com.