By Dr. Stan Headley, natural health consultant for Cypress Pharmacy
November marks National Diabetes Awareness Month. A time that focuses on the risks, prevention and cure of diabetes – a nationwide epidemic that affects more than 30 million Americans and counting.
According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 88 million adults have prediabetes, although more than 84% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. It’s considered a warning sign for making smarter lifestyle choices now before it’s too late.
A physical, emotional and financial burden. Diabetes is not one but several chronic medical conditions that alter the balance of insulin and glucose, which affects how your body turns food into energy. Having diabetes dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Without proper management, it can also lead to kidney failure, vision loss and the risk for limb amputation.
Can Diabetes be Prevented?
Well, yes and no – depending on whether it’s type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Both are important to understand and have consequences that can be devastating on the body.
In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the ability of the pancreas to make insulin. It can’t be prevented but it can be managed to reduce the risk of complications. Most people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in childhood with a strong family history of the disease.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and can often be prevented or delayed with proven lifestyle changes. With type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells resist the insulin.
So, what can you do to reduce your risk of developing diabetes?
Path to Prevention
Small changes can lead to big results. Research shows that proven, structured lifestyle changes can cut the risk of type 2 diabetes in half. Here are a few simple ways to get started today:
- Limit processed and prepackaged foods
- Watch out for refined sugars and carbs
- Control and measure portion sizes
- Commit to staying physically active
- Maintain a healthy weight
Another area where efforts can pay off is nutritional supplements. If taken at the right time and in the right amounts, they can have a profound impact on blood glucose levels, helping protect you against the debilitating effects of diabetes.
Consider some of these science-based nutritional supplements highly recommended for people with diabetes – turmeric, vanadium sulfate, chromium, lipoic acid, gymnema sylvestre, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and vitamins A, C and E. Studies have also found that cinnamon and garlic may help for reducing blood sugar levels. Consult with a medical professional to determine the best supplements to support your diet and other factors that can affect your glucose levels.
Bottom line: a healthy lifestyle and diet are key to preventing or managing diabetes. Eliminate undesirable habits and replace them with new healthy ones by making small daily and weekly goals. Keep it simple with manageable steps to help you stick to your goals.
And remember – if you slip up, just start again.