The Importance of Diabetes Prevention
Most of the food we eat turns into glucose (or sugar) to give our bodies energy. Diabetes is a condition that occurs in people who cannot properly process glucose. Glucose is normally distributed to our cells by the hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin and glucose builds up in the blood. Glucose build-up can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and lower-extremity amputations in advanced cases. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is caused by autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors. These cases account for up to 10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is caused by several risk factors including older age, obesity, family history, glucose intolerance, gestational diabetes, and physical inactivity and accounts for up to 95% of all diagnosed cases.
The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) research findings from its National Diabetes Prevention Program showed that participants cut their risk of developing diabetes in half by adopting healthier eating habits, increasing physical activity, and losing 5% to 7% of their body weight. Prevention of diabetes is important. By making modest behavioral and lifestyle changes and sticking to the plan, individuals can significantly improve their health, avoid the onset of diabetes, and the life-threatening complications that can result from this disease.