KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The frequency of people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has tripled in the past 20 years in the United States, according to Tennova Healthcare. March 28 is Diabetes Alert Day.
“Diabetes affects nearly 30 million people in the United States—a stunning 10 percent of the overall population,” said Cheri Johnston, M.D., a family medicine physician with Tennova Primary Care – Farragut. “And recent research reveals that diabetes is now the third leading cause of death and not the seventh, as was previously thought. Perhaps the most alarming statistic is that one in four people living with diabetes is unaware that he or she even has the disease.”
Tennova says the prevalence is due to an increase in sugary diets and sedentary lifestyles. One-third of Americans will have diabetes by 2050, according to researchers.
The disease can cause kidney failure, blindness, limb amputations and death if left untreated.
People with a family history of type 2 diabetes are at risk. Also, above-average body weight can lead to an increase. The disease is more common in Native Americans, African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans.
“On the positive side, diabetes is almost always avoidable—even reversible—with appropriate lifestyle changes,” Dr. Johnston said. “Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to preventing significant damage to your health and longevity. Awareness and access to quality medical care are key.”
Tennova suggests five ways to help reduce the risk of getting the disease:
- Physical activity: Devote at least 30 minutes, five days a week: aerobic, heart-pumping exercise and strength training.
- Fiber: Eat plenty of fiber to improve blood sugar: fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and nuts.
- Whole Grains: Make sure at least half of your grain intake is “whole grains”
- Lose weight: Tennova says losing 5-10 pounts can help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance
- No Fad Diets: Fad diets can impact your heart health and other organs. Make healthy choice 80 percent of the time.
“As part of your annual physical, talk to your doctor about the results of your fasting blood sugar test and A1C test, which provides information about your average glucose levels over a three-month period,” Dr. Johnston said. “If your numbers are heading in the wrong direction, acting quickly may get things back on the right track.”
For more information, call 1-855-TENNOVA or visit Tennova’s website.