World Diabetes Day
The International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization launched World Diabetes DayExternal in 1991 to focus attention on the growing problem of diabetes around the world. Observed every year on November 14, the day was expanded in 2015 to a yearlong campaign to recognize diabetes as a long-term condition that must be managed every day.
Approximately 387 million adults worldwide are living with diabetes. This year, World Diabetes Day highlights healthy eating as a key part of managing diabetes—type 1, type 2, and gestational (diabetes while pregnant)—and preventing type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented, but a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference in managing it successfully.
What’s on Your Plate Matters
If you have diabetes, making healthy food choices—along with being physically active, losing excess weight, and taking medicine, if needed—can help you control your blood sugar levels. Good blood sugar control is important because it can help you avoid or delay serious diabetes-related health problems, including:
- Heart disease and stroke: People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke as people without diabetes, and at an earlier age.
- Blindness and eye problems: Diabetic retinopathy (damage to blood vessels in the retina), cataracts (clouding of the lens), and glaucoma (increase in fluid pressure in the eye) can all result in vision loss.
- Kidney disease: High blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys over time, long before you start to feel bad
- Amputations: This means you could lose a foot or leg. Diabetes causes damage to blood vessels and nerves, particularly in the feet, and can lead to serious, hard-to-treat infections. Amputation may be necessary to keep the infection from spreading.
Make a Plan
Making healthy food choices can help you lose weight if you need to, lower your risk for serious health problems caused by diabetes, and help you feel good every day. Changing how you eat may seem difficult, but with planning and practice, you can form healthy eating habits for a lifetime. Tips include:
- Eating regular meals and snacks
- Eating a variety of foods
- Eating less fat, sugar, and salt
Your personal meal plan should be based on what you like to eat and drink, daily schedule, calories you need, physical activity, and timing of any medication you may take. Then it will fit your life and give you the best chance for success.
Catch it Early
With prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes puts people at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Without lifestyle changes, many people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within a few years. If you have prediabetes, take action now by eating healthier and getting more physical activity to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
If you’re living with diabetes, making healthy eating choices today and every day can help you manage the disease for a longer, healthier life.