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Type 2 Diabetes prevention comes down to everyday choices

Knox County Hospital District

KNOX CITY – According to statistics, approximately one in ten Texans is living with diabetes today.  But many more are at risk of developing the disease. Since Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable, it is often the result of poor diet and lack of exercise, taking simple steps to improve your health can lower your risk of developing it.

“Prioritizing prevention can make all the difference if you are at risk of developing diabetes,” said Dr. Leon Joplin. “Improving your lifestyle and consulting with your local healthcare provider are key ways to avoiding this type of diabetes which generally affects older persons”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes affects more than 30 million people across the nation and is one of the leading causes of death. An estimated 88 million, or one in three Americans, have what is known as prediabetes, a health condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated. Those with prediabetes are at high risk of developing diabetes.

People who are overweight, have diabetic relatives and are over age 35 are at the highest risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Statistics also show that women are at a higher risk for diabetes than men, as are those with a family history of the disease. Diabetes can cause blindness, destruction of tissues through infections such as gangrene and disease of the kidneys and heart.

Fortunately, lifestyle changes can lower the risk of developing diabetes. For example, adding more physical activity to your weekly routine can help you lose excessive weight and improve your body’s ability to manage insulin and blood sugar.

The importance of getting more exercise can’t be stressed enough.  Physical activity increases your body’s insulin sensitivity. Studies have shown that those with prediabetes who engage in moderate exercise several times a week are often able to lower their risk of developing diabetes. Exercise can include activities such as jogging, riding a bicycle, swimming, walking and strength training.

Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet is key to lowering your risk of diabetes and improving your overall health. Meals should include a healthy balance of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats. It is also important to pay attention to which types of carbohydrates go into each meal and to incorporate more whole grains into what you eat. Avoiding sugary beverages can also help you manage your health.

According to Dr. Joplin consulting with your healthcare provider is key to assessing and managing your risk of developing diabetes. A simple blood test can determine whether you have developed diabetes or are at-risk of developing the disease.

“Many people do not know that they are living with diabetes,” Joplin said. “Finding out where you stand, whether you have diabetes or prediabetes, can help you make the lifestyle changes you need to improve your health.”

Joplin added that an annual wellness exam at the Knox City Clinic or the Munday Clinic is an excellent opportunity to discuss your risk and learn about getting tested. Additionally, those living with diabetes can consult with their provider about better ways to manage their condition.

“Living in a new world with COVID-19, knowing more about your health and taking close care of special conditions, such as diabetes, is critical,” Joplin adds. “Working closely with your medical provider and diabetes care team can make a big difference in reducing the effects if this deadly disease.”

If you or a loved one is living with diabetes and would like more information about how to care for yourself and prevent the onset of diabetes-related complications, or for information on screening for diabetes, please call Knox City Clinic at 940-657-3906 or the Munday Clinic at 940-422-5271.

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