Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in the blood. Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations.
Preventing diabetes is as basic as eating more healthfully, becoming more physically active and losing a few extra pounds. It's never too late to start. Making a few simple changes in your lifestyle now may help you avoid the serious health complications of diabetes down the road, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage. Consider the latest diabetes prevention tips from the American Diabetes Association.
1. Get more physical activity
There are many benefits to regular physical activity. Exercise can help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar and boost your sensitivity to insulin — which helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range.
Research shows that aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes. The greatest benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.
2. Get plenty of fiber
It's rough, it's tough — and it may help you reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control, lower your risk of heart disease, promote weight loss by helping you feel full. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.
3. Go for whole grains
It's not clear why, but whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains. Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including various breads, pasta products and cereals. Look for the word "whole" on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.
4. Lose extra weight
If you're overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every pound you lose can improve your health, and you may be surprised by how much. Participants in one large study who lost a modest amount of weight — around 7 percent of initial body weight — and exercised regularly reduced the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent.
5. Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices
Low-carb diets, the glycemic index diet or other fad diets may help you lose weight at first. But their effectiveness at preventing diabetes isn't known, nor are their long-term effects. And by excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients. Instead, make variety and portion control part of your healthy-eating plan.
When to see your doctor
If you're older than age 45 and your weight is normal, ask your doctor if diabetes testing is appropriate for you. The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose screening if you're age 45 or older and overweight and if you're younger than age 45 and overweight, with one or more additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes — such as a sedentary lifestyle or a family history of diabetes.
Share your concerns about diabetes prevention with your doctor. He or she will applaud your efforts to keep diabetes at bay, and perhaps offer additional suggestions based on your medical history or other factors.
Cyclin with the Mayor Praire Lights Ride
Ride 2.8 miles through 4 million holiday lights at Prairie Lights with Mayor Ron Jensen during the last "Cyclin' with the Mayor" community bike ride of 2017 on Monday, November 20. Riders of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to join the casual ride. Put your lights on, bring a helmet, and bring your family and friends to this incredible free event!
The group gathers at 6 p.m. and the ride begins around 6:30 p.m. Meet at the Get Fit GP tent at the Lynn Creek Park main parking lot, 5700 Lake Ridge Pkwy.
Active Adult (50+) Health Fair
Get Fit Grand Prairie is offering adults (age 50+) FREE health screenings including posture test, dental, veins, glucose, blood pressure, BMI, and more at The Summit. Flu, pneumonia and Tdap immunizations will also be administered depending on insurance coverage. Attendees are encouraged to bring their health insurance card.
Summit members and non-members are welcome to participate.