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This National Diabetes Month, Make a Change to Live Well

Posted on 10/31/2012 by Rebecca Thompson

This National Diabetes Month, Make a Change to Live Well

Make a Change to Live Well: Take Small Steps for Better Health

Living with diabetes or knowing you are at risk is not easy. It’s common to feel overwhelmed, sad or angry – especially if you are struggling to make positive lifestyle changes that just don’t seem to stick for very long. Even if you know what to do to improve your health, it is figuring out how to do it and fitting it into your daily routine that can present the biggest challenges.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050, and an additional 79 million Americans are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious disease. If it isn’t managed, it can damage many parts of the body, leading to heart attacks, strokes, amputation, blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage. But there is good news: diabetes complications can be prevented or delayed by properly managing blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Eating healthy, being physically active and quitting smoking also can help lower the risk of diabetes complications.

Making changes step by step – such as losing a small amount of weight and becoming more active – can go a long way toward helping you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Losing even 10 to 15 pounds – if you weigh 200 pounds – can make a big difference in helping you prevent type 2 diabetes. If you have diabetes, making similar types of changes can help you reach your blood sugar (glucose) and blood pressure goals to prevent diabetes-related health problems.

So how do you get started making changes in how you care for your health? It’s all a matter of trying and learning. It’s about choosing a goal and working toward it. Making a plan and taking the first step will help you reach your goal.

The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has an online tool, Make A Plan, which can help you think about what is important to your health and what you are willing and able to do so you can break down your goals into small, achievable steps. Remember, it’s also important to seek advice from your healthcare provider when creating a plan to manage your diabetes.

For more information on the NDEP online planning tool, visit: http://www.yourdiabetesinfo.org.

Information from the American Diabetes Association and the National Diabetes Education Program.