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5 New Year's Resolutions to Help Prevent Diabetes

health_0112_diabetesThe number of people living with diabetes may rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) says that's about ten million new cases per year around the world. The IDF also estimates that as many as 183 million people don't even know they have diabetes.

Other shocking figures reveal:

  • In some of the world's poorest regions, diabetes is expected to increase by 90 percent by 2030.
  • The largest number of people with diabetes is in the 40-59 year age group.
  • The US has the highest number of people with diabetes, followed by Mexico, Canada, and Haiti.
  • The US has one of the highest number of deaths due to diabetes of any country in the world.

"In every country and in every community worldwide, we are losing the battle against this cruel and deadly disease," Jean Claude Mbanya, President of the IDF, said in a press release. "We demand that public and world leaders act on diabetes now."

About Diabetes

There are two kinds of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is most often diagnosed in children or young adults, and represents only about five percent of people with diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. People with this type of diabetes must depend on insulin therapy. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown.

Type 2 diabetes develops when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin or cannot distribute it properly. It is not known exactly why this happens, but poor diet, excessive weight, and lack of exercise are contributing factors.

Diabetes has a tremendous impact on health and complications can include:

  • heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure
  • kidney failure
  • vision loss, hearing loss
  • complications with feet, skin, and nerves

When your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not quite high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes, it's called pre-diabetes, or impaired glucose tolerance. Studies show that some people with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by making dietary and lifestyle changes.

5 New Year's Resolutions for the Prevention of Diabetes

You may be able to delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes from developing by making healthier lifestyle choices now - before you have a problem. These five new year's resolutions could go a long way toward that goal.

1. Get a good night's sleep

Many of us fail to get the proper amount of sleep each night.  Dr. Steven Park, author of the book, Sleep, Interrupted: A Physician Reveals The #1 Reason Why So Many of Us Are Sick and Tired, says "The lack of sleep (quality or quantity) can cause insulin resistance and raise your sugar levels. Many diabetics have undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea, which is a known risk factor for diabetes."

2. Move!

Start with walking and using stairs whenever possible. Set realistic exercise goals, beginning with easy movements and slowly build your routine. A good walk each day can help you to feel increased energy right away.

3. If you smoke, quit

If you don't smoke, don't even consider starting.

4. Carefully consider what you eat

Cut down on foods high in cholesterol; ditch snacks high in empty carbohydrates; plan family meals in advance; shop with a list and don't stray; don't shop when you're hungry; do the bulk of your shopping in the fresh produce section; when shopping avoid the snack aisles altogether; enjoy a salad with meals - it's healthy and helps your stomach feel full so you don't over indulge in other foods.

Doctor of Chiropractic Chris Niedzinski says that if you're goal is to help prevent diabetes, your new year's resolution should be to "maintain a clean, healthy diet." He offers three simple rules to get you started.

  • Change the meat you eat from grain-fed to grass-fed.
  • Eliminate unhealthy damaged fats and increase healthy fats.
  • Reduce or eliminate all sugars and anything that turns to sugar.

5. Have a Purpose

Dr. Niedzinski has another piece of advice that's worth taking to heart. He calls it the "big why."  If you want to avoid failing at your new year's resolutions by mid-January, he says, "There's got to be a higher purpose for the resolution - not just to lose weight or to feel better."

Your purpose should be something along the lines of, "I want to be around, active, and vibrant for my grandkids," or "I want to make sure I can fulfill my purpose."

Having a purpose and creating a support system could be the two most important changes you make. Enlist the whole family in making healthier choices and support each other in those choices. It just might bring you closer together.

It's a Family Affair

First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative focuses on healthier eating choices to fight childhood obesity, asking schools to take a leading role in educating children about eating smart and choosing physical activities.

In a Presidential Proclamation for National Diabetes Month 2011, President Barack Obama supported the idea of shared family responsibility.

"The increase in Type 2 diabetes among our Nation's children is linked to the rise of childhood obesity. To end the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation, First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative is inspiring children to be physically active and empowering parents and caregivers to make healthy choices for their families. By encouraging our sons and daughters to develop healthy habits today, we help ensure they have a brighter, healthier tomorrow."

When you think about it, these lifestyle choices go far beyond helping to prevent type 2 diabetes. They'll also aid in the prevention of a host of other health problems. Even better - they'll help you to feel healthier and more vibrant so you can enjoy life to your fullest potential.

Sources: International Diabetes Foundation; WhiteHouse-Let's Move Campaign; American Diabetes Association; MayoClinic.com; Dr. Steven Park, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology at The New York Medical College and author of Sleep, Interrupted: A Physician Reveals The #1 Reason Why So Many of Us are Sick and Tired; Doctor of Chiropractic Chris Niedzinski

Image copyright: PhotoXpress.com

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of "No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis." She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and writes for sites around the web.

Find out more about related services in the Washington area:

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