Steps to help prevent diabetes

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – The month of November is Diabetes Awareness Month and health officials want to raise awareness for this chronic disease that affects millions of Americans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 34 million people in the United States with diabetes. It can develop in anyone at any age. The American Diabetes Association reports that 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.

It’s a condition that is caused when your body isn’t processing sugar the way it should, meaning your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. The most common is Type 2 and some ethnic groups such as Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Pacific Islanders are at a higher risk to develop it.

For some, diabetes can run in the family and be genetic, but for others, it can develop from poor lifestyle choices like not being active and exercising, and being overweight.

MinuteClinic, Nurse Practitioner Maria Scheivel said if you’re diabetic, it's important to monitor your sugar levels because diabetes can increase your risk of complications like stroke high blood pressure, and blindness.

She also mentioned some steps to take that can help avoid developing diabetes.

“Make sure you’re eating healthy, make sure you’re exercising regularly, make sure you’re getting your annual screening, and check in your feet,” Schievel said.

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