Diabetes is a serious and growing health problem in America, costing our nation billions each year in healthcare dollars. The greater cost may be in quality of life. The complications from diabetes are severe, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, and even amputation. Americans need to make the necessary changes to turn this trend around.

An increasing number of Americans are being diagnosed with prediabetes, which means their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be considered full blown diabetes.  This is a warning sign that must be taken seriously.  If prediabetics make changes now, chances are they can prevent developing diabetes.  Their doctor can help them plan ways to improve their diet and get healthy.

Some symptoms of diabetes are frequent thirst, frequent urination, weakness and fatigue. There could even be tingling hands, legs, or feet.  You could have blurred vision, or might have cuts and bruises that take a long time to heal.  Some of these symptoms would be easy to ignore, such as fatigue or frequent thirst.

People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin to stay alive. Type 2 diabetes is more common, though, and health care providers are finding an alarming increase of children with type 2 diabetes. This disease used to be diagnosed only in adults aged 40 or older, and the obesity epidemic in our country is a big factor in this increase.

Being overweight puts people at risk for getting diabetes. As a whole, our eating habits need to dramatically improve to fight both obesity and diabetes. One of the habits that contribute to the problem is consuming sugary drinks. Other bad habits are skipping breakfast and eating lots of fast food. Late night snacking is a problem, as well as eating white bread instead of whole grains. Going to the vending machine for a candy bar instead of eating an apple for a snack might be tempting, but it’s not the best choice.

Simple changes can reduce your risk for diabetes. Don’t skip meals, and limit sweets. Cut back on portion sizes, eat more fruits and vegetables, and eat slower at meals. Diet changes are a great place to start. You will be better off, though, if you combine a good diet with increased exercise. You will probably find that you feel better as a result of these changes. In the long run, these healthy changes can help reduce the prevalence of diabetes.