By Bernard Freeman
More than 100 million adults have diabetes or prediabetes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose levels, or blood sugar, is too high. Over time, too much glucose in your blood can damage your eyes, kidneys and nerves, and diabetes can also cause heart disease.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t make insulin at all. Type 2 diabetes, which is much more common, occurs when your body doesn’t make or use insulin well.
Early symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include bladder, kidney, skin or other infections that are more frequent and heal more slowly; fatigue; hunger; increased thirst and urination; and blurred vision.
If your blood sugar is more than 200 milligrams per deciliter, your doctor will recommend a follow-up test to confirm a diabetes diagnosis. It may be a fasting glucose test done twice, a A1C test or an oral glucose tolerance test. A diabetes screening is recommended for overweight children with other risk factors starting at 10 years old, overweight adults with risk factors, and adults starting at 45 every three years.
Once diagnosed, you may be prescribed medication to help treat your diabetes. You’ll also need to check your blood sugar levels frequently to make sure your treatment is working (your blood sugar should be 80-130 before a meal and less than 180 about two hours after a meal starts). Take your medicines and follow your doctor’s instructions, and also change your diet and get plenty of exercise.
Skip high sugar, high fat and high carbohydrate dishes and instead load up your plate with fruits and veggies, beans, eggs, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. Pick water over sugary drinks and use less salt. Also, get heart-healthy fats like those in oils that are liquid at room temperature and avocado.