Diabetes Awareness Month: Can Lifestyle Changes Help Prevent Diabetes?

Diabetes Awareness Month: Can Lifestyle Changes Help Prevent Diabetes?

It’s officially Diabetes Awareness Month, so we wanted to help spread awareness by sharing some facts about the disease and the best ways to prevent it.

 

Diabetes is a chronic disease that gets 1.5 million new diagnoses in the U.S every year and is the 7th leading cause of death in the country. It can cause other fatal complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and loss of limbs. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 adults in the United States has prediabetes. This means that their blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes; these individuals are at high risk for type 2 diabetes which is the most prevalent form of the condition (about 90-95% of diagnoses are type 2). Genetics play a role in the development of diabetes, but type 2 diabetes is largely preventable by making healthier lifestyle choices. Still, the problem continues to grow in America.

 

Most people spend a large portion of their lives at their place of work, so many companies have implemented employee wellness programs that aim to educate employees about their health. OccuMed provides health and wellness services to businesses in New England that want to improve their workplace culture by improving the health of their employees. Our programs help workers recognize if they are at risk for type 2 diabetes and what they can do to prevent it. Here is some general information about the preventative measures we recommend:

 

Obesity and sedentary lifestyle are two major factors that put individuals at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Weight-loss is an effective preventative measure for those at risk. In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended that adults get at least two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week in order to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, among other diseases. The American Diabetes Association has a “Food” section on their website, dedicated to educating those at risk for diabetes about adopting a low-calorie, nutrient-dense diet that aids weightloss and general health.

 

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is an ongoing study that proves how effective moderate lifestyle changes are at preventing and delaying the development of diabetes. The study put one group through a lifestyle change program in which participants tried to lose 7% of their body fat by eating fewer calories, less fat, and exercising for 150 minutes per week. It gave a second group a drug called Metformin and a third group a placebo. The results show that the lifestyle change program was the most effective way of preventing and delaying diabetes, even when the study checked up with participants 15 years after going through the lifestyle change program.

 

It is our goal to help businesses improve the health of their employees and prevent diabetes through education and communication. You can learn more about our services on our homepage, or by calling 833-622-8633.

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