Seven Helpful Steps for Preventing Diabetes

As part of National Diabetes Month, Health Net wants to pass along useful information on ways to avoid developing diabetes.

 

The only bright side to diabetes is that it usually doesn’t develop overnight. Warning signs – and opportunities to do something about them – often are lurking for years. Heading diabetes off at the pass may be a lot easier than you think. Minor lifestyle changes – really, they’re things you should be doing anyway – can dramatically lower your chances of ever having to deal with it.

 

Below are seven helpful steps.

 

Take off your blinders; look at your risk. Diabetes is nothing to mess around with. It can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease – and even raise your risk for some types of cancer.

 

First, it’s a good idea to know your risk. You’re more likely to develop diabetes if you:

 

  • Are over 45 years old
  • Are overweight
  • Have relatives with diabetes
  • Don’t exercise
  • Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Are African-American or Hispanic
  • Had gestational diabetes

 

Throw away the remote and the ice cream. Even if you’re at risk, you don’t have to resign yourself to developing diabetes. In fact, a large national study* of more than 3,000 people showed that diabetes often can be prevented – or at least delayed – if people follow a few simple steps.

 

Drop a few (or more) pounds. Even 5 to 7% of your weight can make a difference.

 

Get moving. Try to be active almost every day, even if it’s just a walk around the block or some puttering in the garden. Aim for 30 minutes, five days a week. Of course, get the go-ahead from your doctor first.

 

Watch what you put in your body.

 

  • Cut down on fats
  • Eat lots of fiber and whole grains
  • Shovel in fresh fruits and veggies; nibble on red meat
  • Shun fried foods and high-fat foods
  • Avoid foods high in salt or sugar
  • Walk away from fad diets, like high protein
  • Consider talking to a nutritionist if you aren’t sure where to start

 

Start a dialogue with your doctor. At your annual check-up (don’t delay; schedule today), ask about your risk and how you can nip diabetes in the bud.

 

Use resources that will help you make healthy changes. Health Net members have a variety of online tools and programs to help them get healthier – from behavior change programs for eating healthy, losing weight and getting more active, to trackers that help monitor their blood pressure, activity level, blood glucose and more! Just log on at www.healthnet.com by entering your user name and password to access your confidential member portal, and then click on the Wellness Center to access your wellness resources.

 

 

Sources

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/checkup-america/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-prevention/DA00127

http://diabetes.webmd.com/prevention-program

 

 

 

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Susan Peters