November is National Diabetes Month. It’s an important time to spread awareness about the disease and how it impacts our health, as well as what we can do to prevent or manage it. This year, join in on raising diabetes awareness by attending a walk for charity, volunteering at your local hospital, or just talking more openly with friends and family members about this critical issue facing so many Americans today.
Prediabetes is a serious health condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, more than 1 in 3 U.S. adults have prediabetes—that’s 88 million people—but the majority of people don’t know they have it.
The good news is that by making small healthy lifestyle changes, it is possible to prevent type 2 diabetes and even reverse your prediabetes.
Diabetes is a group of diseases that are characterized by high blood sugar levels. There are two main types: type one and type two diabetes.
Type one diabetes occurs when the body produces little to no insulin, which keeps your blood sugar in check. It can be caused by genetics or an autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself thinking its foreign cells instead of healthy ones like those found in the pancreas causing it to stop making insulin. Type two on the other hand happens when either not enough insulin is produced—or if our bodies resist it preventing proper function.
National Diabetes Month
Here are some tips to help manage prediabetes and prevent diabetes.
Take Small Steps
Making changes to your diet and lifestyle can go a long way in preventing or reversing prediabetes, as well as type two diabetes. Making small changes—like choosing more fruits and vegetables over processed foods–can have a big impact on your health overall. The key is to start small and build up to more challenging changes.
If you sit at a desk all day, or spend long hours on your feet—take small steps to move more throughout the day. Park further from your job, choose the stairs instead of the elevator. Opt for a walk in the morning or afternoon. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days a week. Start slowly by breaking it up throughout the day.
Make Healthier Food/Drink Choices
Pick foods that are high in fiber and low in fat and sugar. Build a plate that includes a balance of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates. Drink water instead of sweetened drinks.
Consider joining a support group or online community to connect and share ideas with others who are facing similar struggles. There is great power in numbers!
Stay Up to Date on Vaccinations
The COVID-19 (booster shot, if eligible) and flu vaccines are especially important for people who may be more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 or the flu, such as people with diabetes.
Ride or Walk for Diabetes Awareness
You can also get involved and raise awareness by participating in a local walk or ride to support diabetes research.
Attend an Event
This month for National Diabetes Month, chances are, there may be a live event in your neck of the woods, though there are many virtual offerings, too. From webinars and film screenings to health fairs and wellness walks, you’re bound to find something that interests you.
Get Involved this National Diabetes Month
Raising awareness about diabetes is crucial. It can encourage people to know the signs and symptoms, drive research, and foster community.
Diabetes Awareness Month happens every November, and you can get involved in many different fun and meaningful ways this year and beyond.