Diabetes: Understanding the Risk, Prevalence, and Prevention
Diabetes is a widespread health concern affecting millions of lives across the nation. In this blog, we’ll unravel the complexities of diabetes, its prevalence in Texas compared to the U.S., and the steps you can take to manage and prevent it, with the guidance and support of It’s Time Texas and other free resources.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that influences the way your body processes glucose, a sugar that serves as a crucial energy source. There are two primary types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 Diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. As a result, individuals with Type 1 diabetes require insulin injections or an insulin pump to manage their blood sugar levels.
Type 2 Diabetes:
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and is often linked to lifestyle factors. In this condition, the body either becomes resistant to insulin’s effects or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. It can often be managed with a combination of healthy lifestyle choices and, in some cases, medication.
Understanding the risk factors for diabetes is essential for prevention. Common risk factors include:
Family History: A family history of diabetes may increase your risk.
Unhealthy Diet: A diet high in processed foods, sugary beverages, and low in fruits and vegetables can contribute to Type 2 diabetes.
Lack of Physical Activity: Being physically inactive can lead to weight gain and increase diabetes risk.
Obesity: Excess body fat, particularly around the abdomen, is a significant risk factor.
Age: The risk of Type 2 diabetes increases with age.
Prevalence in Texas and the U.S.:
Diabetes is a growing concern in Texas, mirroring national trends. According to the American Diabetes Association, Texas ranks high in terms of diabetes prevalence in the U.S. With approximately 3.5 million adults living with diabetes in the state, it’s crucial for Texans, these risk factors are addressed.
Prevention and Management:
The good news is that diabetes is manageable and preventable through lifestyle changes and early interventions, and It’s Time Texas offers a range of services to support you:
Nutrition and Physical Activity Education:
Adopt a balanced diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Regular physical activity can help manage weight and improve insulin sensitivity.
Free Telehealth Coaching:
It’s Time Texas’s telehealth coaching provides guidance on managing diabetes and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Stronger Texas Virtual Classes:
Engage in virtual exercise and nutrition classes to stay active and motivated.
Join the annual It’s Time Texas Community Challenge to foster a culture of health in your community.
Access a wealth of educational resources from It’s Time Texas and our Partners at Unidos Contra Diabetes who have great free resources such as the prediabetes risk test, and the food swap cheat sheet.
Prediabetes risk test: Take this yourself. Send to a family member or friend or coworker. Takes 5 minutes.
Food swap cheat sheet: Learn how to make some of your favorite dishes with a healthy twist.
By understanding the risk factors, prevalence, and prevention methods for diabetes, you’re taking essential steps toward better health. It’s Time Texas is here to support you in your journey to a healthier future for yourself, your loved ones, and your community.
Stay tuned for our upcoming blog, where we’ll delve into other preventable diseases and discuss the choices you can make to lower your risk.