Time to turn sugar highs into sugar lows.
No doubt the folks who came up with the idea for a low-sugar awareness month figured this to be a good time to start keeping it real before the pumpkin pie, chocolate peppermint brownies and sugar cookies start to derail our diets. And well they should.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. One in 10 Americans have diabetes — that’s more than 30 million people. And another 84 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In Florida, it is estimated that more than 2.4 million people have diabetes and more than 5.8 million have prediabetes. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The numbers are expected to get worse as the population continues to age, with 54.9 million Americans diagnosed in 2030, according to a study by the Institute for Alternative Futures, analyzed by PsyD Programs. That’s an increase of 38 percent from current rates.
The study estimates that 5,393,800 Floridians will have diabetes in 11 years. That’s 19.8 percent of the state’s population and puts Florida as the second-highest state in the nation for diabetes cases. The top state is expected to be West Virginia, with 20.5 percent. The three states with the lowest percentages are Utah, Alaska and Colorado, each with slightly more than 10 percent.
When broken down by metro area, Miami leads the nation with 18.8 percent of the population projected to be diabetic in 2030. The lowest metro is Minneapolis, with 11.7 percent.
“Diabetes is a very serious disease affecting millions of Americans, but it can be managed with a healthy lifestyle,” says Florida Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. “This year, I encourage you to know your risk factors for diabetes and act as a support system for those in your life who may be affected by the disease.”
There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). Women with diabetes have more difficulty conceiving and may have poor pregnancy outcomes, so it is especially important for women to be aware of their risk factors for developing diabetes, including having a family history of diabetes as well as age, weight, and physical activity level.
The good news, especially for those with prediabetes, is that it can be prevented. A healthy diet, regular exercise and medical monitoring can go a long way toward ensuring that diabetes never gains a foothold.
That’s important because adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes. Over time, high blood sugar from diabetes can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart.
This year, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases is emphasizing that tie-in to cardiovascular health. Here are their tips to take control of your health:
- Stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
- Manage your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
- Develop or maintain healthy lifestyle habits – be more physically active and learn ways to manage stress.
- Take medicines as prescribed by your doctor.
Yes, that also includes throwing out that bag of candy corn you bought on clearance. For more information about diabetes and what you can do to prevent, control it or support a loved one, click here.