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Tips on How To Prevent Diabetes

Sara Martinez
November 01, 2023

Diabetes affects more than 37 million Americans, and 1 in 5 do not even know they have it. The number of adults with diabetes has more than doubled in the last 20 years.

National Diabetes Month is in November, and we are sharing some basic facts about diabetes and tips on how to prevent diabetes health problems.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-term health condition where your body does not make enough insulin or does not use insulin properly. This can cause too much blood sugar to stay in your bloodstream, leading to serious health problems.

Type 1 diabetes is when your body’s immune system destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin by mistake. About 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1.

Type 2 diabetes is when your body does not make enough insulin or does not use it how it is supposed to. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. About 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2.

Gestational diabetes is when diabetes develops during pregnancy. Although it usually goes away after delivery, it can cause health problems for both mom and baby.

What causes diabetes?

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is still being researched. What we know is that genes and environmental factors play an important role.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by genes and lifestyle factors. These include being overweight, obese, and not being physically active.

Genes and lifestyle factors, combined with hormonal changes during pregnancy, also cause gestational diabetes.

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How to prevent diabetes health problems?

Research is still underway to find possible ways to prevent or slow down type 1 diabetes. Some ways to delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes include:

  • Losing 5-7% of your current weight, and keeping it off.
  • Getting at least 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week, like walking.
  • Reducing the amount of calories you eat each day and choosing healthy alternatives, like water instead of sweetened drinks.

Managing your diabetes soon after you are diagnosed is also key to prevent diabetes health problems. Start with your ABCs:

A—Check your blood glucose level with an A1C test, or your blood glucose meter at home.
B—Keep track of your blood pressure.
C—Manage your cholesterol levels.
S—Stop smoking. Both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart problems.

You can easily keep track of your blood pressure and your total cholesterol number each time you donate blood! Numbers are available in your donor portal 48 hours after your donation.

Always check with your healthcare professional to know what your ABCs goals should be.

Can diabetics donate blood?

Yes! If you are healthy and your diabetes is under control, you may be able to become a blood donor.

Being a diabetic does not mean you can’t donate blood, but there are some factors related to your diabetes that could cause you to be deferred. Make sure to also check with your doctor.

Take charge of your health. Make donating blood part of your wellness routine today. Sign-up to donate at a donation center or Big Red Bus blood drive near you!

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Sara Martinez

Sara Martinez is a Digital Marketing Specialist at OneBlood. From creating strategic online campaigns to writing engaging stories, she is passionate about raising awareness to inspire others and helping make a difference in our community. #ShareYourPower

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