World Diabetes Day started in 1991 and has been celebrated on November 14th every year since. It was initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in response to the rapid rise of diabetes incidence around the world.
This year, World Diabetes Day focuses on Women with Diabetes, and for good reason:
- There are currently over 199 million women living with diabetes. This is projected to increase to 313 million by 2040.
- Two out of every five women with diabetes are of reproductive age.
- Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally.
- 1 in 7 births is affected by gestational diabetes.
- 2% of live births to women in 2015 had some form of hyperglycemia in pregnancy.
- Approximately half of women with a history of gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes within five to ten years after delivery.
- Half of all cases of hyperglycemia in pregnancy occur in women under the age of 30.
These are some sobering statistics, and they don’t begin to cover it all. Diabetes can lead to nerve damage, kidney failure, and blindness. If you have diabetes, your risk of developing heart disease is twice that of the rest of the population, and you’re more susceptible to depression and infections.
Diabetes is dangerous. But it’s also a largely treatable and more importantly preventable disease. In fact, according to the IDF, more than 70% of type 2 diabetes could be prevented through the healthy lifestyle.
Where do you begin? Diabetes is a lifestyle disease, and naturally, food and movement are key.
Eat right. Eat foods that nature makes, mostly plants, not too much. It really is as simple as that. If a food package is making a health claim, be suspicious. The foods sitting in the veggie aisle with no claims and no packaging are where your diet should be focused.
Start with these 10 recipes that will save your life!
Exercise regularly. You don’t need to be a marathon runner to get the diabetes prevention benefit of exercise. Walk every day for 30 minutes. It’s all you need to do to make an enormous difference.
Test your blood sugar. Find out if your blood sugar is a problem before it’s a problem–testing your blood sugar regularly can give you an idea if your body is heading down the diabetes track.
Blood sugar tests look at the following:
- Fasting blood sugar. This is the test we are all very familiar with. We fast overnight and get our blood taken first thing in the morning. Any value over 6.0 mmol/L should get your attention that you may be heading down the wrong track.
- Hemoglobin A1c. This test measures how much sugar is attached to the red blood cells. The more that is attached, the more likely you are not getting the sugar out of your blood fast enough. Because the lifespan of the RBC’s is around 3 months, this test gives us an idea of what your AVERAGE blood sugar has been over a 3 month period. Values over 6% are a sign that things are not going well.
- Two-hour post-prandial blood glucose. This test measures how well your body deals with sugar within 2 hours of eating it. If your blood sugar is over 7.8 mmol/L 2 hours after eating the sugar, you could be heading down the wrong track.
Interested in learning about your blood sugar levels? Tests are inexpensive, and we can take your blood sample right here in the clinic! Book online, or call 705-444-5331 for more information.