Change Your Life on Diabetes Alert Day
On March 27, 2018, you could take the opportunity to change your life forever. The day is American Diabetes Association (ADA) Diabetes Alert Day, and the goal is to raise awareness of this all-too-common chronic condition. Nearly 1 out of 10 Americans have diabetes, or high blood sugar. This can lead to complications such as heart and kidney disease, stroke, and neuropathy, but you can protect your health by taking action.
The Significance of Prediabetes
Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but lower than in diabetes. Being aware of prediabetes can save lives, even if you do not have diabetes. That is because 84 million Americans, or 1 in 3 adults, are at high risk for developing diabetes because they have a condition called prediabetes.
Most people with prediabetes develop diabetes within a few years, but you can delay or prevent the onset of diabetes by making healthier choices in your daily life. An approved app, such as Lark Health Coach, can guide you in pursuing healthy choices. As the ADA says, "today is the day to take action!"
Know Your Risk
Although 1 out of 3 adults have prediabetes, only 10% of those know it. That means that 3 out of every 10 adults in the U.S. currently have prediabetes and are at high risk for diabetes, but do not even know it! Could that be you? The first step to taking action on this Diabetes Alert Day may be to know your risk for prediabetes.
You are at higher risk for prediabetes if:
- You are over 40 years old.
- You have a family history of diabetes.
- You are a woman who previously had gestational diabetes.
- You are obese (body mass index or BMI over 30).
- You are not physically active.
In less than a minute, you can take a prediabetes risk test for an assessment of your risk.
Other Ways to Take Action Today
Along with increasing awareness about prediabetes, you can take other steps to reduce your diabetes risk on this Diabetes Alert Day.
Know your risk. Ask your doctor for a blood glucose or an A1C test to find out whether your blood sugar values are healthy. You can also ask for blood pressure and blood cholesterol tests, since high values can be linked to prediabetes.
Create your weight management plan. Extra pounds pile on extra health risks. Losing weight can be challenging, but there is plenty of good news if you have prediabetes.
- Each extra kilogram (2.2 lb.) of extra body weight that you lose drops your risk for diabetes by over 13%.
- You can lower your risk for diabetes by over 50% if you lose about 10 to 20 lb.
- Lark DPP Health Coach can help you set and work towards achieving your weight goals.
- There is no rush for weight loss – Lark DPP has a full year's worth of coaching.
Make one or a few nutritious changes. Certain changes to your diet can help lower blood sugar levels.
- More high-fiber foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
- Fewer sugar-sweetened foods, such as candy, baked goods, soft drinks, and ice cream.
- Fewer fried foods, such as French fries, fried chicken, and doughnuts.
- Fewer fatty red meats and processed meats.
- More healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocados, and peanuts.
You do not need to make these changes all at once, and a health coach such as Lark DPP can guide you through making healthy choices and logging your food to stay on track to hit your healthy eating goals.
Get moving. Exercise does not just burn calories to help with weight loss. It improves insulin sensitivity to lower blood sugar. These are some ways to get active.
- Walk regularly or start another workout program of your choice.
- Walk outside or pace the room while on the phone.
- Take a quick break to walk before or after lunch.
- Stand up every half-hour to stretch or march in place.
- Walk around the parking lot before going into the building.
A health coach such as Lark DPP can track your activity, keep you motivated, and offer suggestions to fit activity into your own lifestyle.
A Diabetes Prevention Program for You
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, found that a program to lose weight, improve nutrition, and increase physical activity can lower diabetes risk by over 50% in people with prediabetes. You can enroll in a Diabetes Prevention Program, or DPP, if you are eligible. Some include in-person weekly meetings, but you may qualify for Lark DPP. It is a DPP that delivers the CDC curriculum through your smartphone, and also offers individualized coaching whenever you want it.
Take action on this Diabetes Alert Day, and see if you are eligible for Lark DPP!