The old saying “Ignorance is bliss” isn’t true for every situation.
Take for instance a new report out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that found that one in three adults who were 20 years old and above had prediabetes, a health condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be categorized as diabetes. Of these estimated 79 million who are at risk, only 11 percent are aware of their risk.
People who have prediabetes have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which makes up between 90-95 percent of all cases of this condition. The CDC’s analysis found that 11 percent of people who have prediabetes who don’t lose weight and engage in moderate physical activity end progressing to type 2 diabetes during the following three-year period. The prevalence of prediabetes awareness was the lowest among people who were between the ages of 20-44 years of age (5.1 percent). Ten percent of people between the ages of 45 and 64 and 11.9 percent of people who were 65 years old and above were aware of their condition.
"We need people to understand their risk and take action if they are at risk for diabetes," said CDC’s Director of Diabetes Transition Ann Albright, who wrote the report. "We know how to prevent type 2 diabetes, or at least delay it, so there are things people can do, but the first step is knowing what your risk is -- to know if you have prediabetes."
Once you develop type 2 diabetes, you can’t be cured. Instead, you have to manage the condition by consuming a healthy diet, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight.
And while lifestyle choices can help people avoid or manage the condition, we’re making some poor decisions. For instance, a new study suggests an association between more than 180,000 deaths worldwide in 2010 and a high-intake of sugar-laden drinks. This figure is believed to include 130,000 from diabetes. Most of these deaths were in middle- to low-income countries. Furthermore, consumption of these beverages if often tied to unhealthy food choices.
Still, the study – when paired with the CDC report – offers a reason to think about lifestyle choices that can make a difference. For instance, MedlinePlus reports that blood sugar levels can be improved by following a meal plan that includes fewer calories, an even amount of carbohydrates (30-45 grams per meal) and healthy monounsaturated fats (peanut or almond butter, almonds and walnuts). People with type 2 diabetes should attempt to eat six or more services daily of grains, beans and starchy vegetables, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruit, 2-3 servings of milk, 2-3 servings of protein (preferably fish and poultry), and limited amounts of fats, alcohol and sweets.
MedlinePlus encourages people with type 2 diabetes to learn how to read nutrition labels in order to make healthy selections. In addition, people who have type 2 diabetes can improve their control of the condition by losing about 10 pounds of weight and increasing physical activity, such as walking 30 minutes daily.
And if you don’t take the risk of developing this disease seriously? Complications from this disease include potentially disabling or life-threatening issues, including:
- Heart and blood vessel disease, including chest pain, heart attack, stroke, narrowing of the arteries and high blood pressure.
- Nerve damage caused by injury to the wall walls of capillaries. You can lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Additionally, damage to the digestive nerves can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. Men also are at risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction.
- Kidney damage that eventually can lead to the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Eye damage that can eventually lead to cataracts, glaucoma or blindness.
- Foot damage, which can cause cuts and blisters to become seriously infected and could require toe, foot or leg amputation.
- Skin and mouth conditions, such as bacterial, fungal and gum infections.
- Osteoporosis, since diabetes can lower the normal bone mineral density.
- Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, possibly due to cardiovascular problems, brain-damaging inflammation or lack of glucose for the brain cells.
- Hearing impairment.
Hopefully, this sharepost provides additional fodder to help you and your loved ones take ownership of your health.
Primary Sources For This Sharepost:
American Heart Association. (2013). 180,000 deaths worldwide may be associated with sugary soft drinks.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Awareness of prediabetes – United States, 2005-2010.
Mayo Clinic. (2013). Type 2 diabetes.
MedlinePlus. (2011). Diabetes diet - type 2.
MedlinePlus. (2013). Millions on verge of diabetes don’t know it: CDC.
MedlinePlus. (2013). Sugary drinks tied to 25,000 U.S. deaths a year.
Published On: March 26, 2013