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Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
The Number of Pounds You Might Lose if You Stop Drinking Soda
The Diabetes Action Network, a division of the National Federation of the Blind (www.nfb.org) is a support and information network for all diabetics, especially those who are blind or losing vision. Many of their members have experienced ramifications of diabetes such as blindness, amputation, nerve damage, heart problems, kidney disease, etc. Others have experienced no chronic complications, but want to utilize their services, learn more about diabetes, and be part of a caring support group. In addition to reaching out to fellow diabetics who may be finding it difficult to cope with problems that accompany diabetes, they provide support and information to interested persons.
The principal medium of their support network is their free quarterly news magazine, Voice of the Diabetic. Each issue contains personal, candid stories written by diabetics, friends, health care professionals and others who share experiences and expertise on diabetes and its complications. Emphasizing the importance of good diabetes control, proper diet, and independence, this upbeat outreach publication shows diabetics that they have options regardless of the side effects of diabetes. Regular features include a medical Q and A column, a "Recipe Corner," and a resource column of aids and appliances.
Members of the Diabetes Action Network enjoy priority services and
unique benefits such as: free subscription to the Voice,
automatic access to committees covering all aspects of diabetes, free
counseling concerning all facets of blindness and diabetes as well as
access to diabetics who have experienced complications.
Diabetes affects all ages, but approximately 90% of documented cases (according to national statistics) are of Type 2, the "adult onset" variety. Because of this, we can expect a heavy skew toward mature individuals, and here it is:
Our household income profile resembles the income profile for the nation as a whole. Remembering that diabetes hits especially hard among ethnic minorities, and those who fall into lower income brackets, we can expect a curve biased toward the lower end of the scale:
It is not a glamorous picture, but diabetes is not a glamorous
disease. Our readers are real working people, from every state and
U.S. Territory. Not faddists or trend-chasers, they are looking for
real answers to the problems their condition imposes.
Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
In this section, you'll learn about the most common factors that increase your risk so that you can become educated and make changes to your lifestyle. Remember that it is possible to prevent or delay diabetes if you take action!
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement of the relationship between your height and weight. It is a fairly reliable indicator of body fatness - better than your weight alone. It does not measure fat directly, but the BMI does correlate well to other measurements of body fat.
A BMI that's above the normal range is a major risk factor for developing diabetes. If you already have diabetes or are trying to prevent diabetes, losing weight and keeping your weight as near to normal as possible can help you manage the disease more effectively.
Remember, while BMI is a valuable measurement tool, it is not perfect. BMI uses weight, which is a combination of muscle and fat, so the number can be skewed from time to time. For example, athletes or generally muscular people may have a high BMI because of their muscle mass, rather than increased body fat.
Calculate your BMI here and check out our advice based on your BMI:
Underweight: 18.5 and below
If you're classified as underweight, you should consult with your health care provider to determine if you need to gain weight or have a medical workup especially if youve recently lost weight without trying. Being underweight is associated with a reduced immune system, bone loss, heart irregularities, and nutrient deficiencies. Although you are underweight, you may still be at risk for diabetes due to other risk factors.
Youre at a healthy weight for your height! Maintaining a healthy weight will help to prevent diabetes.
Overweight: 25-29.9 or Obese: 30.0 and above
If you're classified as overweight or obese, you should consult with your health care provider for tips on how to achieve a healthier weight or get started by following our lifestyle advice.
Studies have shown that people can prevent, delay, and better manage their diabetes by losing a small amount of weight (about 5-7% of their body weight). Also, remember that obesity increases your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other related issues. It may be time to visit with your doctor and be screened for these health conditions.
Diagnosis of Prediabetes
Effective screening and treatment of prediabetes can help to prevent the progression of full-blown diabetes. Prediabetes, also referred to as impaired glucose tolerance, is defined as a state by which your blood sugars are elevated, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Lifestyle interventions such as diet, exercise and weight loss can help to prevent or delay the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Screening for Diabetes: If youve been diagnosed with prediabetes your doctor will likely check your hemoglobin A1C (three month average of your blood sugar), yearly or more frequently if needed.
A key risk factor for predicting diabetes is your physical activity level. A sedentary lifestyle, one with no or very little activity, can increase your risk of obesity and diabetes. However, it's never too late to start exercising.
How Are Physical Activity and Health Linked?
Physical inactivity increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers. According to the CDC, less than 48% of adults meet the physical activity guidelines. Exercise not only helps keep your weight in check but also helps you better utilize insulin. Insulin allows your cells to absorb sugar, preventing it from building up in the blood stream. Increasing your physical activity can actually help cut your risk for diabetes by half!
If you find yourself sitting at a desk all day working long hours, odds are the last thing you want to do when you go home is exercise. But, the good news is that you dont have to work out for hours in a row in order for exercise to count.
Get started with one of these beginner workouts from our About.com Exercise Expert or get more exercise motivation here.
As you get older, your chance of developing diabetes increases. As you age, the pancreas (the organ responsible for making insulin) can get tired and sluggish. Activity levels also tend to drop as you age, resulting in muscle loss and weight gain, which can also increase the risk of developing diabetes. And although diabetes is more common in older adults, there's an increased in incidence among younger adults, too.
Advice by Age:
In recent years, there's been an increased incidence of childhood type 2 diabetes which has most likely been caused by the rise of obesity. The symptoms in children are gradual - while some may have increased urination or increased hunger, others may lose weight, and some may feel nothing at all. Other diabetes risk factors such as obesity, acanthosis nigricans (a dark ring around the nape of the neck that indicates insulin resistance), family history, ethnicity, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol levels, can be indicators to get tested for diabetes.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of type 2 diabetes such as increased thirst, increased urination, fatigue, or increased hunger and also have another risk factor such as overweight or obesity, family history of diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol, an abnormal fasting blood sugar, then your doctor may consider testing you for diabetes. If you do not have any symptoms but are overweight or obese, have pre-diabetes or another risk factor, your doctor may check you for diabetes.
Anyone aged 45 years or older should consider getting tested for diabetes, especially if you are overweight. If you are younger than 45, but are overweight and have one or more additional risk factors, you should consider getting tested.
If you fall into this age bracket, odds are that your doctor has tested you for diabetes by conducting routine blood work. If you havent heard anything from your healthcare provider, its probably reason not to worry - but to play it safe, you should ask your doctor to share your numbers with you.
If you fall into this age bracket, odds are that your doctor has tested you for diabetes by conducting routine blood work. If you havent heard anything from your healthcare provider, its probably reason not to worry, but to play it safe you should ask your doctor to share your numbers with you. At this age, blood sugar control is less strict, so finding out your numbers is important.
Family History of Diabetes
A family history of diabetes increases the risk of developing the disease, especially when one or both parents are affected and you also have contributing lifestyle risk factors such as: physical inactivity and poor diet. If you have a family history of diabetes you should discuss this with your health care provider to assess your need for screening.
Greater Waist Circumference
Are You Apple or Pear Shaped?
People who are overweight or obese are at much greater risk than others for developing type 2 diabetes. But while BMI is an important determinant of risk factor, studies have also found an association between waist circumference, insulin resistance (an independent risk factor for diabetes), and obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.
What Is Waist Circumference?
Your waist circumference is the measurement of your waist from the top of your hip bone, all the way around, level with your belly button. In general, men are considered at risk if their waist circumference is more than 40 inches and women if their waist circumference is more than 35 inches.
Greater waist circumference means that you carry more weight in the abdomen and have more visceral fat, or fat that surrounds the body's internal organs. This is also known as centralized obesity or being 'apple-shaped.' High levels of visceral fat increases the release of free fatty acids which can increase insulin resistance ultimately leading to high blood sugar. High levels of visceral fat can also increase bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides.
If, on the other hand, you carry more weight around your hips or thighs (pear-shaped) and are overweight, you may still be at risk for diabetes but perhaps less so than if you carry more weight in your abdomen. Some studies have suggested that people most at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes are those who have a high body mass index (BMI) as well as a high waist circumference and a high waist-to-hip ratio.
Waist-to-hip ratio is a measurement that compares the size of your waist in inches to that of your hips. It can also help to predict the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The World Health Organization states that you have an increased risk of health problems if your waist-to-hip-ratio is higher than 0.85 for women and greater than 0.9 for men.
Whether you are apple- or pear-shaped, weight loss will help to reduce your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
How Your Body Shape Changes with Age
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is common in American adults, especially those with diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 1 in 3 American adults have high blood pressure and 2 in 3 people with diabetes report having high blood pressure or take prescription blood pressure medicines.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood flow inside your blood vessels. When the force is too strong and the blood is pumping too fast, your pressure is considered to be high. High blood pressure forces the heart to work harder and increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and other problems such as eye problems and diabetes.
If you have high blood pressure, its important that you do something about it lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, as well as medication, are all treatment options.
What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?
Often referred to as the silent killer, many people dont even know they have high blood pressure. In fact, the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 67 million Americans have high blood pressure, but only 16 million are receiving treatment. To avoid missing a high blood pressure diagnosis it is important that you have your blood pressure checked at every doctor visit.
How Is Blood Pressure Measured?
If youve ever been to the doctor, youve likely had your blood pressure checked. A cuff is placed around your arm and a medical personnel will use a stethoscope to listen for your blood pressure. The measurement is a relationship of two numbers written as a ratio. The upper number, systolic pressure, is the measurement of pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (or is at work). And the lower number, diastolic pressure, measures the pressure between beats when the heart is resting. Check out the American Heart Association to understand more about blood pressure readings.
Some risk factors for diabetes are controllable, while others are not. Race, ethnicity and genetics are uncontrollable risk factors. People of specific races and ethnicities are at increased risk of developing diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, Latinos, American Indians, Asian Americans and non-Hispanic blacks are twice as likely to have type 2 diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. In addition, the types of complications experienced by people with type 2 diabetes in each racial/ethnic group can vary. Click on the links above to learn more about awareness programs and resources available.
Signs and Symptoms You Need to Know
Diabetes is a disease in which your body is unable to use sugar efficiently. Insulin, the hormone produced by the pancreas, is responsible for moving sugar from the blood to the cells to use for energy. When you have type 2 diabetes, your cells become resistant to insulin. As a result, sugar builds up in the bloodstream.
Type 2 diabetes usually occurs slowly over time, and people may not feel any signs or symptoms until theyve had the disease for a while. If you do notice any of these signs or symptoms and you are overweight or obese or you have a family history of diabetes, schedule an appointment with your doctor to be screened. The following are often the first warning signs of diabetes:
Increased Urination (Polyuria)
Running to the bathroom all the time, especially at night? This could be a sign that your body is trying to rid itself of excess sugar. Increased urination, otherwise known as polyuria, occurs in people with diabetes because the kidneys draw extra water out of your tissues to dilute the extra sugar in the blood, which is then excreted through the urine.
Increased Thirst (Polydipsia)
In efforts to try to restore normal blood sugar levels, your body tries to get rid of excess sugar through urine. Your kidneys are forced to work overtime to absorb excess sugar, but are unable to keep up so they pull excess sugar along with fluids from your tissues into your urine. As a result of the extra fluid loss, your desire to drink increases. If you find that you can drink and drink and not feel as though your thirst is quenched, this may be a sign of diabetes, especially if you are urinating more frequently.
Increased Hunger (Polyphagia)
Glucose is your bodys primary source of fuel. When you have diabetes, your body is unable to use glucose (or sugar) for energy and your cells become starved, often resulting in increased feelings of hunger. If you find that you are eating excessively and are not satisfied, this could be a sign of diabetes.
Lack of insulin or inefficient insulin prevents the use of glucose or sugar for fuel. Instead of sugar going into the cells, it remains in the blood. In effect, your cells are starved of fuel or energy and can result in feelings of sluggishness and fatigue. You may feel extremely tired after eating a meal.
Pain or Numbness in the Feet and Hands
Chronically high blood sugars can cause damage to the nerves and
cause numbness in the feet or hands. Nerve damage in the extremities,
otherwise known as peripheral neuropathy, occurs over time and can
present as numbness, tingling or pain in the hands, feet or legs. The
first treatment step is to bring blood sugars to a normal range.
Maintaining good blood glucose control can prevent or delay further
The Number of Pounds
You Might Lose if You Stop Drinking Soda
For some people, the easiest way to lose weight is simply to kick the soda habit. You can decrease your caloric intake by hundreds of calories each day just by ditching this sugary drink. So why not give it a try?
If you need some extra motivation, check out a few numbers. First, review the annual cost of drinking soda every day. You'll probably be surprised to see how much money you spend and how manyb calories you consume when you drink soda a daily basis.
Now check the list below to see what happens when you replace that soda with water. The potential weight loss is substantial.
The Number of Pounds You Might Lose When You Eliminate Soda
Should You Drink Diet Soda?
Transitioning from a high calorie soda to a drink that is artificially sweetened can be a tricky fix. In fact, you might be replacing one kind of addiction for another.
Studies have shown that when we eat sweet foods, whether they are naturally or artificially sweetened, our appetites increase. So if you replace your regular pop with a diet variety you might be eliminating calories only to replace them again when your sugar craving kicks in.
So how do you kick the soda habit? Switching to a diet pop might be the most gentle step down if you are used to having a full calorie soda during the day. If youre used to drinking a Big Gulp full of Coke, try having a smaller sized Diet Coke and several bottles of water instead. Gradually increase your water intake and decrease the soda. Once you learn how to make water taste better, it becomes easier to switch to an all-water habit.
With just a few simple changes, you can make big adjustments to
your waistline and your wallet. Eventually, youll feel better,
your body will look better and your piggy bank will thank you as
Courage, the Diabetic Superhero
Courage is a diabetic who is also a super hero. He has no super hero powers but is able to fly and accomplish outstanding feats through his intelligence and training his body through martial arts.
At a young age Courage was diagnosed with diabetes and was taught by his father many disciplines of martial arts and healing methods. Courage makes sure he tests his blood sugar regularly and takes his insulin every day. He also makes sure that he eats correctly which has helped him to grow up strong and healthy.
Through using his intelligence he as created multiple gadgets, tools and weapons that allows him to fly and defeat any villians in his way.
So you see, he is just like you, a diabetic, and a superhero!
The comic book can be found at couragethediabeticsuperhero.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/courage_comic_book.pdf
The web site is a motivating and uplifting tool that will help with the understanding of Diabetes and its challenges. Also available are:
We are not sensible of the most perfect health, as we are of the least sickness. - Michel de Montaigne