Your Health: Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is the name of a serious disease that affects how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). While glucose is vital to your health, too much can lead to serious problems, ranging from loss of vision and heart attack, to stroke and kidney damage.
Who is at greatest risk for diabetes?
- People over 40
- Those with a family history
- Sedentary people
- Those with obesity
- People with a poor diet
A healthy lifestyle goes a long way to reduce your risk. Aim for 30 minutes of daily activity, and try to maintain a healthy weight. “If you’re overweight, losing just 5 – 10 percent of your body weight can improve blood sugar control,” says Laurie Laliberte, PA-C , Diabetes Specialist at InterMed.
In addition, the American Diabetes Association offers these tips:
- Monitor your food intake, and eat meals at regular times.
- Limit carbohydrates. Aim to get your carbs from vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low fat dairy, and fruit (in moderation). Look for non-starchy vegetables to make up about half of your dinner plate.
- Avoid simple sugars — sweets, processed foods, and high fructose corn syrup.
- Try to include a protein with each meal. Aim for 10 – 25 percent of your calories from protein. Good sources include fish, eggs, beans, soy, nuts, and lean meat.
- Limit saturated and Trans fats, such as those found in cheese, red meat, butter, margarine, and shortening. Choose unsaturated fat, including those from fish, olive oil, and nuts.
- Limit cholesterol to less than 300 mg daily (red meats, egg yolk, cheese), and sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, follow your provider’s treatment plan. “People with diabetes play a large role in their health, and adopting a care plan goes a long way to preventing serious complications,” says Laurie.