Like many life-saving health habits, keeping your blood glucose in check begins with awareness. If you haven’t been monitoring it, then it’s time to start. And if you’ve gotten busy and let it slip, then it’s time to get back on track. Why? Something about the lifestyles and diets of today are causing an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, so there’s every reason to keep tabs on blood sugar whether you are suspicious or not.
Type 2 diabetes threatens everything from your eyes to your kidneys. It’s growing at an epidemic rate in North America, and its effects can not only can hurt your quality of life, but also deadly. Once a person develops type 2 diabetes, or even pre-diabetes, staying on top of blood sugar levels takes much more time and attention. It becomes a daily, even hourly concern. And the stakes are much higher than before. So, monitoring your blood glucose level is an awfully good idea, even when it has always been normal in the past.
Why Do We Say Epidemic?
The growth of this disease in the U.S. is steep, rising from about five percent in 1994 to almost double that today. Yes, nearly 10 percent of Americans have diabetes. And more than one-fourth of sufferers – more than eight million people – don’t even know it.
The prevalence of the disease qualifies as epidemic, and the consequences make it as great a concern as nearly any disease we’ve faced as a society. Two of our society’s biggest killers weigh in – heart attack and stroke – among the many complications when diabetes goes unchecked.
The brain, the heart, the liver, and even the feet can suffer from diabetes. The eyes, too, are damaged. Small blood vessels at the back of the eye can swell or burst, and the condition that results is the No. 1 cause of blindness among adults.
High blood sugar levels can accelerate formation of fatty deposits on the blood vessel walls. Deposits like this from type 2 diabetes cut down on blood circulation to the legs and feet. Amputation is only the second-worst case scenario from deposits like this. Coronary artery disease may be the worst.
Prevention is a Way of Life
It seems most of the worst threats to our health today stem from the way we live. The good news is that we can greatly reduce our risk my baking a few sensible changes. Regular exercise and a healthy meal plan can keep the threat of diabetes at bay. Just half-hour walks each day can make a world of difference for many people.
Vegetables, greens, and water – good hydration – all play a bigger role in diets that keep blood sugar levels in check. Smaller meals spread more evenly through the day can have the same benefit. Reducing the intake of carbohydrates helps cut the workload of the pancreas and lets it do its job more effectively to dispose of excess blood glucose. Fiber from whole grains and beans can slow the absorption of carbohydrates and keep blood sugar from spiking. Not such big changes, yet they can make a world of difference for you and your family.
Since it all begins with awareness, why not schedule an appointment with us at Global Family Medicine to start keeping tabs on your blood glucose levels. Call us at 843-815-6468.