As the holiday season has passed and with Valentine’s Day fastly approaching, it’s a great time to cover the topic of type II diabetes and sugar balance as part of preventative health care in our family practice!

Diabetes affects 9.4 percent of the population or roughly 30 million Americans and remains the seventh leading cause of death in the US. It’s most prevalent in Native Americans and Alaskan Natives (15.1 percent) with non-Hispanic blacks being the second most affected ethnicity (12.7 percent).

Not only is diabetes an expensive disease to treat for the individual, it’s very costly for society as a whole. The total cost of diabetes in the US is $322 billion, with health care costs for individuals living with the disease 2.3 times greater than those without diabetes. This burden directly affects our economy through indirect costs relating to work-related absenteeism, reduced productivity, chronic disability, and premature death.  

Diabetes can also cause health issues resulting from the disease such as eye problems, kidney and heart damage, and nerve pain.

As you can see, diabetes is a serious disease affecting many individuals, however, there are ways to help prevent type II diabetes.

Preventative steps  

The most common thing to remember about type II diabetes is that it’s preventable! So if it runs in your family or you’re overweight, consider taking action to prevent it altogether.

Revamp your diet – If you’re used to eating highly-processed foods, you may want to consider changing things up a bit. Sugar easily hides in plain sight in processed foods and beverages. The most important takeaway is to start cooking your own meals (not out of a box either!); this way you know exactly what ingredients are going into what you’re making. Reading labels will also be hugely helpful in this transition from processed foods to homemade meals. Also, double check labels for sugar content. Sugar likes to hide in sauces and dressings; it’s also in overabundance in yogurt and “health” food bars. Changing your diet will be a bit of an adjustment at first, but you’ll start to feel the positive effects and understand why it’s so crucial in preventing diabetes.

Move more – When you get more physical activity this can positively affect your weight, blood sugar, and insulin sensitivity. Movement doesn’t have to be going to the gym five days a week (but that’s fine too), it can simply be committing to moving more. Maybe for you it’s walking around the block once per day and then gradually increasing it, taking the stairs, or parking further away from your destination to get more steps. Finding activities you enjoy will make exercise more enjoyable. If you like dancing, dance around your house or take a Zumba class — whatever sounds fun, exciting, and something you’ll stick to! The takeaway here is to start somewhere!

When to talk with your family physician

If diabetes runs in your family, you’re sedentary, or you are overweight, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor for a blood glucose screening.

Here at Huneycutt Family Medicine, we want you to be your best self! If you’d like to talk about your blood glucose levels or if you need a general physical, please call our office today and schedule an appointment!