November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. More than 30 million people in the United States are living with the condition, and an additional 84 million have prediabetes. If not properly managed, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular diseases, nerve, kidney, eye and foot damage and dementia.

Diabetes Prevention: What You Can Do

While genetics are a factor in the development of diabetes, your lifestyle and habits have a significant impact on your risk. Below are simple steps that you can take to reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

  • Exercise regularly.When you exercise, the body uses glucose, which helps regulate your blood sugar levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, five days a week.
  • Eat more whole grains and fiber.Whole grains and fiber are slower to digest, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes.
  • Choose better meats and proteins.Reducing the amount of meat in your diet, especially red meat and high-fat animal protein can help decrease your risk.Plant-based proteins like beans and lentils are also heart-healthy alternatives to meat.
  • Quit smoking.Nicotine prevents the body from using sugar. When your body cannot use sugar, your cells suffer and your blood sugar level rises. Additionally, smoking puts you at risk for other chronic conditions that increase your risk of becoming diabetic. Within one to two months of quitting, most people see improvements in blood sugar levels.
  • Lose weight.Carrying excess weight, especially around your midsection can increase your risk of developing diabetes. Following a healthier diet and exercising regularly can help you shed extra pounds.

These simple changes can make all the difference in preventing diabetes. Talk with your doctor to learn more about your risk factors and what you can do to prevent diabetes.

Additionally, the Fund offers several programs through Empire BlueCross BlueShield, to help you with weight loss, smoking cessation and managing chronic illness. For more information visit www.empireblue.com or call the customer service number on your ID card, 800-553-9603.

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