SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)—November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and local physicians are working to advise the community about ways to prevent the disease leading up to the holidays.
When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, their blood sugar levels are too high. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into cells to give them energy.
SouthCoast Health Physician Dr. Misal Patel says with type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. But with type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not produce or use insulin effectively.
“Diabetes is a very heavy diagnosis to carry. It comes with a lot of stress and a lot of education and a lot of lifestyle changes,” Patel said. “Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious health problems and complications like heart attack and stroke.”
Dr. Patel says prediabetes is when your blood sugar is higher than normal and puts you at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
“If someone has type 2 diabetes in your family, you’re five to ten times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes,” Patel said. “Environmental causes for diabetes can be lifestyle choices like no exercise, unhealthy diets and consuming sugars and fatty foods in excess.”
A simple blood test can determine whether or not you have diabetes or are at risk of getting diabetes in the future.
Patel says the best thing you can do to prevent diabetes is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“Three to five days of moderate to intense activity weekly, balanced meals and avoiding sugar,” he recommends.
“Before you go to a Thanksgiving dinner or before you have your Thanksgiving feast, always try to snack beforehand. Always have a healthy meal that morning or have a plan in place so you don’t overindulge.”