By SeAnne Safaii, Ph.D., RD and Rachelle Ausman, UI dietetics student.
Today, Nov. 14 marks World Diabetes Day. It was created by the International Diabetes Federation to promote diabetes advocacy and awareness. This year’s slogan is Diabetes: Protect Our Future.
But what is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and /or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that let’s glucose enter our cells and is used for energy. When insulin is missing or affected, glucose cannot enter our cells, which means that glucose will build up in the blood stream. This can lead to many different complications including eye problems, poor mental health, high blood pressure and kidney failure.
There are three different types of diabetes. They include:
- Type 1 diabetes, which is when the body does not produce insulin.
- Gestational diabetes, which is when a pregnant woman has high blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
- Type 2 diabetes, which is when the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. This is the most common form of diabetes and well the most preventable.
Although diabetes can be managed, diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans and 347 million people worldwide. Those at risk include those who are obese or overweight, have high blood pressure, live a sedentary lifestyle, have family history of diabetes or those with polycystic ovary syndrome.
According to the World Health Organization, deaths from diabetic complications will increase by two thirds between 2008 and 2030. In the United States alone, if action does not take place now, it is projected that by 2050, one in three American adults will have diabetes.
World Diabetes Day is a campaign that aims to educate, engage and empower youth and the general public on diabetes due to this spreading epidemic.
What can you do?
In many cases, type2 diabetes can be prevented through small changes in eating, which includes adding a vegetable or fruit to every meal, choosing more whole grains such as whole wheat, choosing leaner meats such as chicken or turkey, and spending less money on soda, sweets and chips. Another way type2 diabetes can be prevented is by increasing physical activity.
For More Information and diabetic friendly recipes see the following websites: