Diabetes is a serious health problem in America. Currently, 25.8 million Americans are living with diabetes, and an additional 79 million are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Approximately 10 percent of Louisiana residents have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician.
People who are overweight, underactive – living a sedentary lifestyle – and over the age of 45 should consider themselves at risk for the disease. African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and people who have a family history of the disease are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when cells in the pancreas don’t make insulin. It can’t be prevented and is treated with insulin by injection or pump. Type 2 diabetes occurs because the pancreas can’t make enough insulin or the body can’t use insulin properly. It makes up 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases.
Type 2 diabetes is increasing in children and teens and may possibly be prevented or delayed with a healthful lifestyle.
To find out your risk of diabetes, it is recommended that you get a free diabetes risk test by visiting www.stopdiabetes.com or by calling 800-342-2383. Although Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day event, the diabetes risk test is available year round.
Type 1 diabetes usually is recognized and treated quickly, but for many people with type 2 diabetes, diagnosis may come seven to 10 years after the onset of the disease. Diagnosis is critical in order to start treatment and delay or prevent some of the complications, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.
Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be delayed and even prevented by making simple changes in your lifestyle. Knowing your risk for type 2 diabetes is the first step.
Healthful eating is important for managing diabetes and recommends these tips from the American Diabetes Association for making healthful food:
– Eat lots of vegetables and fruits.
– Choose whole-grain foods over processed grain products. Try brown rice with stir fry or whole wheat spaghetti with pasta sauce.
– Include dried beans, like kidney beans or pinto beans, and lentils in meals.
– Include fish in meals two or three times a week.
– Choose lean cuts of beef and pork that end in “loin,” such as pork loin and sirloin. Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
– Choose non-fat dairy products such as skim milk, non-fat yogurt and non-fat cheese.
– Choose water and calorie-free drinks instead of regular soda, fruit punch, sweet tea and other sugar-sweetened drinks.
– Choose liquid oils for cooking instead of solid fats that can be high in saturated and trans fats. Remember that fats are high in calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, watch your portion sizes of added fats.
– Cut back on high-calorie snack foods and desserts such as chips, cookies, cakes, and full-fat ice cream.
Eating too much of even healthful foods can lead to weight gain. Watch portion sizes.
A four part educational series on diabetes, diabetes and nutrition, and living with your diabetes will be held at the Vermilion Parish Extension Service Office on April 4, 11, 18 and 25 at 6:00 p.m. The program costs $5.00 to attend the series and participants will receive all handouts and sample some diabetic dishes. For more information or to sign up for the classes, please call 898-4335.
Session 1 – April 4 – What is Diabetes and Diabetes 101
Session 2 – April 11 – Nutrition and Diabetes
Session 3 – April 18 – Exercise and Modifying Recipes for Diabetics
Session 4 – April 25 – Living Well with Diabetes
The LSU AgCenter’s diabetes education program and Smart Portions healthy weight program provide information on healthful eating, physical activity recommendations and lifestyle habits. For information about these programs or about eating healthfully using MyPyramid, go to the AgCenter online at www.LSUAgCenter.com or contact Mandy Armentor, MS, RD, LDN, Assoc. Extension Agent (FCS-Nutrition) in the Vermilion Parish LSU AgCenter Office in Abbeville or call 898-4335.