The typical American lifestyle reads like the ADA's list of risk factors. We're obese and inactive. We eat foods that give us high blood glucose and high cholesterol. We stress ourselves out and raise our blood pressure. It's not surprising, then, that there are over one and a half million people with type 2 diabetes in California alone. Here are some of the most common symptoms of diabetes. If you find yourself experiencing them, it may be a good idea to check with your doctor.

  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased fatigue
  • Irritability

Some people get "pre-diabetes," a condition characterized by high blood glucose levels, but nothing high enough to diagnose as diabetes. This can still be harmful to the body, but if you are aware of the possibility, you can prevent it from ever becoming full-blown diabetes. The best way to avoid diabetes is to keep your blood glucose levels healthy now. This means eating right - plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains over Wonderbread, fish, dried beans, lean meats, diet drinks over sugar-laden ones, liquid oils over solid fats. This also means cutting back on the desserts and generally watching portion sizes. Really, it's the wonder diet you've been looking for.

The other key to avoiding diabetes is lots of exercise. If you can walk instead of driving, do it. Anything that gets you moving will help, whether its running or climbing or swimming or playing tennis. If you feel that you may be at risk, talk to your doctor about safe exercise for people who may have trouble maintaining healthy glucose levels during exercise. Diabetes has become an epidemic in America, but if we can wise up, it doesn't have to continue to be one.