Diabetes is a huge problem in America. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US. Approximately 30 million people in the US have diabetes, that’s almost 10%. That means that chances are, someone you know has diabetes. Diabetes is very prevalent in my family, my dad had Type 1, both grandparents on my dad’s side of the family had diabetes, and my grandpa on my mom’s side of the family has Type 2 Diabetes. As a matter of fact, since my dad had Type 1 at such a young age, I have to get checked very often to ensure that I haven’t developed the disease.
Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes
So what is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes? Well Type 1 Diabetes, sometimes called Juvenile Diabetes, comes about when your body doesn’t produce insulin. Your body uses insulin to take the sugar, called glucose, (that is produced from eating carbohydrates) and circulates through your blood and helps it move from the bloodstream into your cells for energy use. Type 2 Diabetes is basically the opposite; it starts out that your pancreas (produces insulin and glucagon) produces too much insulin. Eventually your body can’t make enough insulin to maintain blood glucose levels at the normal level between 80 and 120 mg/dL depending on the type of test your doctor has done.
Why now? Why America?
So why is diabetes so prevalent in America? Well, for some, it’s just genetics. Although for most, unfortunately, it’s in large part due to his or her lifestyle. Over the course of the last 50 to 60 years Americans have become much more sedentary. Our diets have drastically changed from home cooked, more nutritious meals to fast food, quick meals that are calorie dense and nutrient lacking. Our jobs have become more automated and we spend a lot more time behind screens, instead of being physically active.
What can you do to prevent it?
The most important thing you can do for any kind of healthy lifestyle is to watch what you eat. Eat nutritious meals. Instead of a bag of chips, have a piece of fruit. Eat at home more often. When that’s not possible or you’re going out with friends, try to make healthier choices. Another great thing you can do to prevent diabetes is to be more physically active! An average adult needs to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate activity exercise per week. That’s only 30 minutes 5 days a week. This can be as simple as riding a bike, going for a walk, or taking a jog. You should also include strength-training activities twice per week.
I know that all of this can seem very overwhelming, especially when you start watching what youre eating, trying to figure out how you are going to become more physically active, and also how to make it all work together. So almost every gym has an amazing resource to help you with this: certified personal trainers. If you have questions or need help, we are all more than willing to help. All you have to do is ask!