You would think that someone who had been watching her blood sugar level rise, over a year’s time, would get her butt in gear. Nope.
It took the doctor telling me, “You are diabetic”, while handing me an Accucheck box, to actually get me off the sofa. All of a sudden it was real and it scared me. I already had three cousins taking insulin, and I didn’t want to be the fourth. Our grandmother died from diabetes related complications and we knew we were all at risk.
In the United States, Latinos are second, only to African-Americans in diagnosed diabetic rates. Because so much of life is data driven, we could look at statistics until we have them memorized, but that won’t solve the problem at hand. While there are some risk factors that you cannot change, like genetics, there are steps you can take to lower your risk and prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Know your risk factors. Genetics, while a strong indicator, is not the only risk factor you should take into account. Unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating habits play a large role in many medical conditions, not just diabetes.
Get physical. Get up, get moving, and then move some more. Start out with light cardio activity, like walking, and then add some strength training. Change up your routine to keep muscle groups engaged and before you know it your metabolism is awake and helping you take off the extra weight you are carrying around.
Portion control. Wow, what hasn’t been said about watching how much you eat. Do whatever you need to do: use smaller plates, buy a food weight, learn what a portion looks like.
Become a label reader If the label has too many words that you can’t pronounce, leave it on the shelf. Learn how many grams of sugars, carbs, and sodium are in a healthful diet and then shoot for not reaching the max.
Track what you eat This may be one of the most important things you do. When you actually have to write down what you’re eating, and how much you’re eating, you may take the whole eating healthy thing more seriously. There are mobile apps like My Fitness Pal and Fooducate to help you by doing the calculations for you.
Know your status Depending on your family history, and personal risk factors, your physician will get you on a regular testing schedule and will track your blood sugar levels over time. If you do not have insurance, there are health fairs that offer testing and health counseling that won’t cost you a penny. There are an estimated 7 million people with undiagnosed diabetes and another 79 million pre-diabetics. With proper care, you may be able to delay or prevent diabetes.
Now I’m going to put away my computer and take my own words to heart.
Our friends at Sofrito for your Soul , in partnership with the American Diabetes Association , are holding a health fair in New York City on August 17th and have launched a social media campaign called #PorTuFamilia.