Know Your Family Health History to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
By the National Diabetes Education Program
Many serious diseases run in families, including diabetes. Talking about health history with your family may make all the difference when it comes to preventing type 2 diabetes. If you have a mother, father, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes, you are at risk.
Although you can’t change your health history, knowing about it can help you work with your health care team to take action on the things you can change. People at risk for type 2 diabetes should take steps to prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
Small steps to prevent type 2 diabetes:
Anyone ordering fast food or eating at restaurants has probably noticed that food portions have gotten larger. Some portions are available to “super size”, while others have simply grown in size and provide enough food for at least two people. These growing portion sizes are changing what Americans think of as a “normal” portion at home, too. The National Institute of Health is calling it: portion distortion. Here are there definitions:
Heart health month isn’t just about awareness but also about providing some simple solutions. You have probably heard or read the statistics regarding salt intake in our everyday diet before we even pick up a salt shaker and while it may be some time before the “fast food” and “junk food” industries reduce the salt in their products, there are a few simple adjustments you can make to help reduce your daily salt intake.
Just in time for American Heart Month, the American Heart Association has introduced “My Life Check“, a personalized heart score and a custom plan using seven simple steps (the “Simple Seven”) to help you start improving your heart health.
The seven simple steps to live better are:
- Stop smoking
- Get active
- Lose weight
- Eat better
- Manage blood pressure
- Control cholesterol
- Reduce blood sugar
Stop smoking: This is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the U.S.
Get active: Acknowledging how tough it is to make time for exercise in our over-scheduled lives, the American Heart Association reminds us that benefits for health are so great it is worth the effort.
Lose weight: Obesity is now recognized as a major risk factor for heart disease and with 145 million of us being overweight or obese it is a concern for many of us. Losing even a modest amount of weight and keeping it off goes a long way to improve our health.
Eat better: A healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease according to the American Heart Association. Since there is a lot of conflicting information about these issues it is best to get information from credible sources such as the American Dietetic Association, the American Heart Association, The American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society, to name a few.
Manage blood pressure: High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease according to the American Heart Association. One in three adults has high blood pressure but almost a quarter of them don’t know it and of those being treated, over fifty percent do not have their blood pressure down to goal.
Control cholesterol: Too much cholesterol in the blood is a major risk factor for heart disease. Following some of the steps already mentioned above will help reduce blood cholesterol but many people also need to take medication to get cholesterol down to where it needs to be.
Reduce blood sugar: Diabetes is one of the six major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Adults with Diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes according to the American Heart Association.
Check out the American Heart Association’s My Life Check to get your personalized heart score and custom plan and start taking steps today.
Cindy Farricker, MS, RD, CDE
A recent article to be published in the February 2010 issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine is bound to stir up a lot of emotion in the nation’s ongoing health care discussions. The article titled “Trends in Quality-Adjusted Life-Years Lost Contributed by Smoking and Obesity” really boils down to this: Obesity is equal or has surpassed smoking as a contributor to illness and the shortening of healthy life.
From Stacey Seybold Hiller, M.S.,CCC-SLP, Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and Owner, Dream Dinners of Indianapolis, IN.
As parents, one of our most crucial responsibilities is to create independent adults. Too often however, we leave some of the most fundamental teachings until the very last minute. For example, how old should a child be when they start to learn how to do the laundry, or cook a simple meal? Children as young as 8 or 10 years old can learn all the basics needed to cook the family meal. Begin by asking them to help you prepare a meal once a week or so. Let them become familiar with the language and equipment of cooking. Teach them the safety basics. Once they have developed a competency with these skills, have them help you actually plan the meal from the very beginning.
Have you thought about improving your diabetes management skills for the New Year? If so, you are like many others that use this time of year to improve their health.
If you are ready to recommit yourself to managing your diabetes here are recommendations you should consider which are supported by all the major health organizations including the American Diabetes Association.
As a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator I have seen many individuals over the years set themselves up for failure with big health goals (New Year’s resolutions) which they can’t achieve. The result usually plays itself out by the first weeks of February when they can no longer keep up, or don’t see progress being made, and end up abandoning the whole “self-improvement” concept. The unfortunate consequence of this type of unrealistic goal setting is that people inevitably end up feeling worse about themselves in the process.
We all know that we eat more during the holiday season and there is no shortage of news stories telling us about holiday weight gain. It was refreshing to find a video by an expert in eating behavior that actually offers some advice about how to cut down rather than doing without.
According to data in a report published in the December 2009 issue of Diabetes Care(1), the cost of treating diabetes will triple by 2034 reaching a staggering $336 billion annually, up from the current $113 billion. A big reason for the projected increase is that by 2034 an estimated 44.1 million Americans will be living with diabetes (up from the current 23.7 million today). These estimates are based on zero increase in the prevalence of obesity in 25 years, and for that reason, are considered to be conservative.