Half of Americans Have, Or May Soon Develop, Diabetes

Featuring Theodore Ende, D.O.
Southern Ocean Medical Center

Heads, you stay healthy. Tails, you face high blood glucose and all the health risks it entails. 

A new report finds Americans’ odds of having diabetes or prediabetes now rest at about 50-50.

Fortunately, the health factors that contribute to diabetes go far beyond the proverbial toss of the coin.

Government experts recently crunched national numbers to determine diabetes rates among U.S. adults. About 9 percent had an official diabetes diagnosis, while an additional 5 percent had undiagnosed diabetes. 

Meanwhile, 38 percent had prediabetes, meaning their blood glucose readings were above normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.

Make Healthy Changes

Although prediabetes increases the risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, with healthy lifestyle changes, the onset of type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented.

Along with exercise, a healthy diet is not only critical to proper diabetes management, but will also help you stay at a desirable weight, control your blood pressure, and prevent heart disease and stroke. Cooking tips to lower caloric intake, fats, and sugars include:

  • Use nonstick cooking spray instead of oil, shortening, or butter.

  • If you do use oil, use olive, corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, vegetable, or flaxseed oil.

  • Season foods, like meats and steamed vegetables with herbs and spices (like pepper, cinnamon, and oregano), vinegar, lemon juice, or salsa instead of salt, butter, or sugary sauces.

  • Use low- or no-sugar jams instead of butter or margarine on breads.

  • Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Try to get at least 2 servings a week of omega-3 rich foods, like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, rainbow trout, and albacore tuna. Walnuts, flaxseed, and soy products are other omega-3 rich foods that can be added to a healthy diet.

  • Eat whole-grain, high-fiber cereals or oatmeal with skim or 1% milk.

  • Use low-fat or fat-free dairy products like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and sour cream in place of full-fat versions.

  • Drink 100% fruit juice that has no added sugar and limit your serving size.

  • Trim excess fat off meats and eat chicken or turkey without the skin.

  • Always buy lean cuts of meat and choose a healthy cooking method, like broiling, roasting, stir-frying, or grilling.

  • Buy whole-grain breads and cereals instead of processed, refined grains like white flour.

“Fortunately, steps can be taken to help prevent and control diabetes,” says Theodore Ende, D.O., of Southern Ocean Medical Center. “Talk with your doctor about losing weight, exercising, and avoiding smoking."

Looking to hit the ground running with your healthy regimen? Start with Meridian's Heart and Sole Cup, which kicks off Sunday, June 5 at Ocean Medical Center! The event will include kids' races in addition to the 5k, as well as an awards party, refreshments and health screenings following the race! Visit MeridianHealth.com/5krace to register!