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Live Smart: Preventing Diabetes

Did you know that nearly 6 million Americans are living with type 2 diabetes and they don’t even know it? The Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) estimates that 1 in 40 Kentucky adults has an undiagnosed case of diabetes, which leaves them prone to developing more serious complications. Could you be one of them?

What to Look For

Of all the cases of diabetes in the United States, 95 percent have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Common symptoms include frequent urination; persistent feelings of hunger or thirst, even after you’ve recently eaten or drank; extreme fatigue; blurred vision; slow healing cuts and bruises; and tingling, pain or numbness in the hands and feet.

Type 2 diabetes can lead to a variety of complications that can greatly affect your overall health, like doubling your risk of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in Kentucky. Other complications include nerve, kidney, eye and/or foot damage, skin conditions, hearing impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

Taking Steps Toward Prevention

No one wants to develop health complications, but oftentimes, we just aren’t proactive when it comes to taking steps toward prevention. The KDPH estimates that for those who are considered at-risk for developing diabetes, lifestyle changes, like eating better and increasing physical activity, can decrease their likelihood of acquiring the disease by nearly 60 percent.

Today, 1 in 10 Kentuckians has been diagnosed with diabetes. In 1995 that number was just 1 in 25. If current trends don’t change for the better, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that 1 in 3 Americans will be living with type 2 diabetes by 2025. But it’s not too late to turn it around—you can do your part by living smart.

St. Claire HealthCare diabetes educator Jean Jones, RD, CDE, MLDE, recommends creating a healthy meal plan that will help you improve your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. “People living with diabetes or those who are considered at high risk of developing the disease need to pay close attention to their eating habits,” Jones said. “Overhauling your diet might seem like a daunting task, but you don’t have to do it alone. Talk with your healthcare provider about creating a meal plan that is right for you.”

There are numerous resources available to help you revamp your diet and get on the right track. Sign up for the American Diabetes Association’s Recipes for Healthy Living program to get new diabetes-friendly recipes and meal plans delivered right to your inbox. In addition, be sure to keep up with St. Claire HealthCare on social media, as we frequently post healthy, delicious recipes that you and your family can enjoy guilt-free.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Medical Association partnered together in 2015 to prevent diabetes with a new initiative known as STAT (Screen/Test/Act Today). Take your first step toward prevention by taking the CDC’s Prediabetes Screening Test. If you are considered at risk, contact your St. Claire HealthCare provider today to find out more about what you can do to reduce your chance of acquiring diabetes.