But lifestyle changes can help you manage the disease
The incidence of diabetes has increased nationwide, but it has become especially worrisome in Louisiana. Two major risk factors for diabetes are obesity and sedentary lifestyle, which explains why Louisianans are so vulnerable.
Our food is famous, but far from healthy, and although we are called the “Sportsman’s Paradise,” our top “sports” --- hunting and fishing --- don’t burn many calories. Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin, which is necessary to store and process sugar or “glucose.” When the amount of glucose builds up in the body, it can damage the organs and nerves, and interfere with blood circulation, leading to heart disease, stroke, blindness and other complications.
You should make an appointment with your primary care physician if you notice the following symptoms. Not all of these symptoms indicate diabetes, but it’s best to be tested by a medical specialist.
Feeling thirsty all the time
Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
Tingling/numbness in hands or feet
Early detection is important because your physician can help you make lifestyle changes that will immediately reduce your risk of complications. Simple changes such as eating healthy, losing weight, quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, and checking your blood sugar often can help you manage the disease.
Recent reports from the American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show these statistics:
Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and a third are unaware they have it.
In Louisiana alone, 32,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes each year.
Nearly 13% of adults in Louisiana have been diagnosed with diabetes, and another 36% have prediabetes .
In 2015, the National Institutes of Health invested nearly $10 million in diabetes-related research in Louisiana.
In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spent nearly half a million dollars on prevention and educational programs in Louisiana.
Hispanic, African American and American Indian adults are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-Hispanic whites.
There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed. For the health of yourself and your family, a good place to start is by adopting a healthier diet. It’s easier than you think. Here’s a healthy, but delicious recipe that will make the whole family happy. And for more information on diabetes, visit diabetes.org.