Diabetes: You can ignore it but it won't ignore you!

Hello Simply Fit readers,

A co-worker of mine that I will call "Jill" was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Jill told me that she was very concerned about this diagnosis but more importantly, she was very confused.

Her confusion stemmed from her doctor basically saying, "You have diabetes so take this medication everyday and try to eat a salad every day."

Jill knew that there was more to treating this disease than just that, so she decided to search the Internet for more information. This only added to her concern because there was a lot of conflicting information from hundreds of different sources.

I gave her some basic advice about reading food labels, counting carbohydrates and the importance of exercise. She has a lot to learn and a new lifestyle to embrace. Please keep her in your thoughts.

Jill's announcement that she has diabetes came at a very poignant time for me. Just the day before, I had attended a funeral of a dear sweet man who died at least 20 years before he should have due to diabetes. Two months earlier I attended another funeral of a man who died 20 years too soon because of diabetes. I really hate diabetes! What I hate more is that in most cases, type 2 diabetes is preventable. What I am saying is that these two wonderful people did not have to leave this world so soon.

If you have diabetes, don't ignore it. Learn as much as you can about how to manage this disease. If you want to drastically reduce your risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, do the following, according to the World Health Organization:

-- Achieve and maintain healthy body weight;

-- Be physically active - at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control;

-- Eat a healthy diet of between 3 and 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day and reduce sugar and saturated fats intake;

-- Avoid tobacco use - smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

About diabetes:

-- Approximately 29 million Americans have diabetes and it is estimated that over 8 million are undiagnosed.

-- In 2010, diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in America.

-- People with diabetes are almost twice as likely to have a stroke or heart problems.

-- Approximately 60 percent of all non-traumatic amputations are linked to diabetes in adults who are 20 or older.

-- 44 percent of people with kidney failure also have diabetes.

-- The World Health Organization states that 90 percent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This is tragic because in most cases, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or at least delayed.

Diabetes, when not controlled, causes a myriad of health problems such as kidney failure (nephropathy), blindness (retinopathy), and nerve damage (neuropathy), Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), slow wound healing, low quality of life and the list goes on.

Diabetic health issues that we are seeing in people in their 60s will soon be showing up in people in their 20s because type 2 diabetes, which was once called adult-onset diabetes, is showing up in our children!

-- In 1963-1970 only 4.5 percent of children were overweight.

. In 1999-2002 it jumped to 16 percent.

. In 2012 it leaped to a startling 33 percent.

. Less than 5 percent of children had diabetes in 1994. It is now up to 20 percent.

Peace!