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November is National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month, which brings awareness to the disease found in about 30 million Americans – approximately a quarter of the country’s population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., has two main types – Type 1 and Type 2 – according to the American Diabetes Association.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that is commonly diagnosed early in life as the result of the body failing to create insulin to deliver the blood sugar from meals to the body’s cells.

Type 2 is more common and occurs when cells fail to accept the insulin the body produces, which prevents the body from receiving the necessary blood sugar to create energy.

About 34 percent of Americans have pre-diabetes, which means they have elevated blood sugars that are not high enough to reach diabetic level, but often lead to Type 2 diabetes. Being pre-diabetic can sometimes force a person on the verge of becoming diabetic to live a healthier lifestyle.

Between 15-30 percent of pre-diabetics will develop diabetes, which can inflict massive trauma to every organ in the body, including the heart, the kidneys, and the pancreas. Diabetes can also cause heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, and blindness and make the body more susceptible to other diseases, including cancer.

The United States Preventative Services Task Force suggests that a physician screens those 45 and older and those who are younger with risk factors annually.

While a family’s diabetic history plays a role in determining if a person becomes diabetic, the choices one makes can be just as – or even more – important in reducing the risk of becoming diabetic.

Obesity and consuming diets high in sugar, carbohydrates and fat are not recommended compared to diets rich in vegetables and whole, unprocessed foods.

Those who are diabetic can lessen its impact by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, according to The American Diabetes Association.

Here are a few tips toward incorporating a healthy lifestyle to decrease the chances of becoming diabetic:

1 Choose to drink water instead of beverages high in sugar, which include soda and powered drinks.
2 Try a new fruit or vegetable a couple times of week in an effort to increase fiber into your diet, as men are urged to consume 38 grams of fiber, while women should aim for around 25.
3 Avoid processed carbohydrates, instead choosing whole grains, whole wheat, oats and quinoa.
4 Eat regularly, so don’t go more than five hours with a meal or snack.
5 If you eat carbohydrates, make sure you also consume protein, whether it’s meat, peanut butter or beans to prevent a surge in blood sugar.
6 Strive for at least seven hours of sleep nightly and exercise at least three to five days a week.
7 No more than one alcoholic beverage (12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled liquor) daily.