November is American Diabetes Month

Wednesday, 04 November 2009

November is American Diabetes Month and the American Diabetes Association is asking the public to join them in a national movement to help confront, fight, and most importantly, Stop Diabetes. Throughout the month, the ADA provides resources and opportunities both nationally and locally to raise awareness about diabetes and its serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness.

Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans. Up to 75 percent of people with diabetes develop heart and blood vessel diseases. Diabetes can also lead to stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems. It is estimated that about a third of the people who have diabetes in the U.S. are unaware they have it. Knowing if you are at risk for developing diabetes and learning the warning signs and symptoms to watch for are important factors in prevention and early detection.

Regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, and controlling your weight are key to preventing or controlling diabetes. The following ideas from the Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program show how you and your department can take action to lower your risk for diabetes or control it if you already have it.

What You Can Do Today:

  • Take the American Diabetes Association’s diabetes risk test to learn if you are at high risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Encourage department members to know their family history and risk factors for diabetes. When you schedule a screening for heart-health, make sure to also test for blood glucose levels.
  • Commit to getting down to your healthy weight. One of the top risk factors for diabetes is obesity. Rather than go on a dangerous crash diet, make long-term changes for a well-rounded diet full of whole grains, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. Incorporate exercise into your weekly schedule.
  • Be active. Increasing physical fitness lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and many other diseases. Aim for at least half an hour of exercise most days of the week.
  • African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at increased risk of developing diabetes. Encourage department members who are part of these groups to get periodic check-ups.

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