“I Don’t Want Type 2 Diabetes”

Middle-aged couple embracing“I don’t want diabetes.” I probably hear that at least five to six times per week in my line of work.

The thought of developing type 2 diabetes is very scary for my patients. It’s very understandable to be afraid of developing something that can affect your health in so many ways.

One of my patients stands out in particular. Ms. Clark (not her real name) told me that her sister was recently diagnosed with diabetes, her aunt died as a result of complications from diabetes and her mother was struggling with needles and injections in addition to failing eyesight due to diabetes.

She had decided that it was time for her to change her lifestyle to make a difference in her “fate.” Ms. Clark had just done something that her family members had not been able to do—understand that this disease is largely preventable.

We helped her make the link between her favorite 32-ounce sodas and the extra 35 pounds she had gained since starting that new stressful job. While she admitted that it was great to have a good job (or any job) in a bad economy, it was clear that she was coping with the stress in a way that was hurting her health.

After her lab work showed a high blood glucose that fell in the prediabetes range, it didn’t take much convincing from me to get Ms. Clark focused on making some key changes. Now that she has switched to sugar-free drinks, is walking 150 minutes every week to help relieve stress and is eating a sensible meal plan, Ms. Clark is one of the many poster children for how you can make basic lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. Now, instead of telling me “I don’t want diabetes,” Ms. Clark tells me “I know how to prevent diabetes!”

The first step is knowing your risk. American Diabetes Association Alert Day is coming up on Tuesday, March 27. Be sure to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Meanwhile, you can make changes toward a healthier lifestyle, just like Ms. Clark, in order to prevent or delay prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

1)    Get 10 minutes of physical activity three times a day. Find it hard to fit 30 minutes into your schedule at one time? Try breaking it up into three 10-minute blocks. That’s what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend to help you lower your blood pressure, manage your cholesterol and lose weight. You can take three 10-minute walks after meals or find other simple ways to fit activity into your busy life. Then work up to a 30-minute brisk walk most days.

2)    Losing a few pounds can make a big difference. Dropping 7 percent of your weight can prevent or delay diseases like type 2 diabetes. For a 180-pound person, 7 percent is just 12 pounds. Remember one key to slimming down: Go slowly. Most of us succeed by making one small change at a time. Little by little, the small changes you make will add up to a big difference.

3)    Make healthy food choices. Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean going on a diet, or even swearing off chocolate cake. Choose more vegetables, whole grains and fruit every day. These high-fiber foods provide disease-fighting nutrients, fill you up and keep you full longer—so you are less likely to snack on high-calorie foods. Also include beans, low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, nuts and lean meats in your diet. Save that cake for special occasions and, even then, keep your portion sizes small.

For more small steps you can take to make a difference in your health, visit CheckUp America or call 1-800-DIABETES.

Jamy D. Ard, MD
Member, Prevention Committee
American Diabetes Association

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5 Responses to “I Don’t Want Type 2 Diabetes”

  1. Portion control is important to prevention of type 2 diabetes. Healthy snacks like walnuts are good for the heart but need portion control. A handful of walnuts as a snack is good portion control. You can take these with you in a small snack plastic baggie and keep in the car, in your purse or a pocket when it is time for a snack, keeping you from going overboard. If you have salt sensitive hypertension, try using un-salted nuts.

  2. Susan Lewis Pruchnicki says:

    I did all the same things, as I had a Type 1 father, and eventually a Type 2 mother. Although I was rail thin, I developed gestational diabetes at 21 and 30 when pregnant, but was fine after both deliveries. Now, at 52, having maintained a healthy diet and weight all my life (I’m 5’8″, a size 10), avoiding all things that could possibly trigger it, I was diagnosed as Type 2 shortly after my 50th birthday. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do or how hard you try, if it’s in your genes, you may have to deal with it. Both of my parents passed from horrid complications of this disease much too young in life. I hope that by taking better care of myself, and the advances in medicine that I will be more fortunate.

  3. Ms B Bisch says:

    I was diagnosed with Type 2 after having a heart attack in 2007. I would like to know if there is someway that I can reverse this disease? My job does not help, but with the economy as it is today, I am forced to keep it. I am a cashier at a “Big Box” company. I stand for the 5, 7, 8 hours that I am working. Never much chance to move more than a few feet.
    I find myself, getting dizzy, and now my eyesight is becoming effected.
    I DO NOT want the Type2 disease, but I do have it, and have no way of convincing my employers to let me off of the registers. (They) told me that all my medical records were lost and that I have to stay on the register or not have a job
    I am a widow, so am on my own and have to make a living.
    Anyway that I can take better care of ME?
    My primary doctor apparently does not understand what I am going through, she has not done any kind of tests or followed up on diet, nothing.
    I would like to live allot longer and allot healthier than what I am now.

    • Stephanie says:

      Ms. B,

      I understand your situation. I am pre-diabetic and do not want type 2 either. No way. So I started checking to see what sent my sugar high and it was grain carbohydrates.

      I can tell you I do not miss my morning bagel ONE BIT! I eat all the yummy foods ( like BACON and eggs) I want now… I am never hungry AND my blood sugar hangs around 100 AND all my other blood tests are now perfect (including cholesterol!).

      A good place for some recipes is. http://mariahealth.blogspot.com/

      My husband is at a work retreat this week and all they offer is highly processed, high carb foods- he has packed nuts, seeds and other healthier choices as well as scraping the chicken salad off the bread at lunch-LOL! Take heart it CAN be done and it is actually far tastier!!!

      I will forwarn you though, there is a bit of a ‘curve’ as you break the carb addiction…. Hang tough and you will love it on the other side!

      Best wishes!

      Stephanie

  4. Lawrence Anway says:

    A glass of pure fruit juice, bananas, yoghurt, low-calorie muesli with semi skimmed or skimmed milk, fresh fruit salad with few spoonfuls of low fat yoghurt, fresh and raw veggies mixed with flavoured yoghurt, a slice of toast or plain bread with eggs, boiled or poached are some of the options for breakfast. Kids can enjoy a Smoothie with their favourite fruits; add dash of yoghurt or honey to make it more delicious.

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