November is National Diabetes Month
Unless we make changes in how we live and eat, forty years from now we may have two or three times as many people with diabetes as we do now. That means somewhere between one out of three and one out of five adults would have diabetes. Right now, about one out of nine adults has diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious disease that affects almost every part of your body and can shorten your life. Some complications you can get because of diabetes are kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, eye disease, and having to have a leg or foot amputated. If you already have diabetes, you can still do a lot to keep from getting complications from diabetes.
Here are some important steps you can take to control diabetes:
- Talk to your doctor about how to manage your blood sugar level, your blood pressure, and your cholesterol levels.
- Stop or don’t start smoking or using any kind of tobacco.
- Do what you can to keep from getting sick. If you have diabetes, you are more likely to get sick and you may get sicker than a person without diabetes. Also, when you’re sick, it’s hard to keep your blood sugar under control. Here are some things you can do to improve your chances of staying well. Click here.
- Get a flu shot. A person with diabetes is more likely to get really sick or even die from pneumonia or the flu (influenza) than a person who doesn’t have diabetes. If you or someone in your family has type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is very important to get a flu shot. Make sure you ask for the flu shot—not the nose spray, which doesn’t help as much. CDC recommends that every person six months old and older get a flu shot. Also, ask your doctor if you should get a pneumonia shot. The shot is not appropriate for everyone.
- Don’t ever use someone else’s insulin pen or any other device that draws blood. You can get a virus from the other person if you do. Click here to visit the One and Only Campaign website. It has more information on being safe and also has buttons and badges you can share with friends.
- Stay at a weight that’s healthy for you.
- Make sure you are physically active. Physical activity can help you control your weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure, as well as raise your "good" cholesterol and lower your "bad" cholesterol.
- Do something like walking quickly, gardening, dancing, jogging, or jumping rope at least 150 minutes a week to get yourself moving.
- At least two days a week, also do other kinds of activity to make your muscles stronger.
Things to Do to Help Keep Yourself from Getting Type 2 Diabetes
If you have prediabetes, there’s good chance you will have type 2 diabetes within three to six years. A person with prediabetes has a blood sugar level that is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. CDC estimates that 79 million people in the United States—one out of three adults—has prediabetes.
There is hope, though. If you have prediabetes, research shows that you can slow down or keep from getting type 2 diabetes by losing weight and becoming active. For example, a person who weighs 200 pounds needs to lose about 10 to 14 pounds. (If you weigh more than that, you need to lose more weight. If you weigh less, you need to lose less weight.) You also need to become physically active for at least 150 minutes per week. Just doing these things can slow down or keep you from getting type 2 diabetes by nearly 60%.
You don’t have to make these changes on your own, you can get help (free written and electronic resources) through the National Diabetes Education Program, which is led by CDC and the National Institutes of Health. Also, CDC leads the National Diabetes Prevention Program. To find a class in your area click here.
Free! Tools to Educate and Help Yourself
- National Diabetes Month: 26 Million Reasons posters, buttons, badges, and e-cards
- Diabetes: You could be at risk. Take the test and Know Your Score.
- Learn to Manage Your Diabetes
- Cuide bien los factores clave de la diabetes (en español)
- Am I at Risk?
- ¿Corro riesgo? (en español)
- A Change for Life Video about the National Diabetes Prevention Program
- Prevent Diabetes
- Prevenga la diabetes (en español)
- CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation
- Recursos de Salud Publica sobre Diabetes (en español)
- Diabetes and Pregnancy
- Frequently Asked Questions: Staying Healthy with Diabetes
- World Diabetes Day
- Flu and Diabetes
- La Diabetes. ¿Existe un riesgo? [PDF-822.2KB]
- National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011 [PDF-2.66MB]
- e-Card for World Diabetes Day
- National Chronic Kidney Disease Surveillance System
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