November is National Diabetes Month. Make it your time to take charge of your type 1 or type 2 diabetes for a longer, healthier life.
Preventive care for people with diabetes—and for the risk factors that cause related health problems—has improved significantly over the past 20 years, and people are living longer and better with the disease. But living longer can mean having other health problems longer, too. Good management over a lifetime is the key, starting with the day you’re told you have diabetes.
More than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, but 1 out of 4 don’t know they have it. Most people with diabetes—9 out of 10—have type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. If you have any of these risk factors, ask your doctor if you should be tested for diabetes. The sooner you find out, the sooner you can start making healthy changes that will benefit you now and in the future.
Risk factors include
- Being overweight.
- Being 45 years or older.
- Having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week.
- Ever having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds.
Race and ethnicity also affect your risk. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes.
Healthy eating is an important—and delicious—part of managing your diabetes.