[avatar user=”doller” size=”thumbnail” align=”left” link=”http://www.acppps.org/who-we-are/denisse-oller” target=”_blank”]By: Denisse Oller[/avatar]People started arriving early in the morning, despite the frigid temperature. By the time the doors officially opened, men and women of all ages filled the cavernous second level of New York’s Jacob Javits Center for the American Diabetes Association’s 2017 EXPO. Hundreds waited in line to be registered, I am sure looking for answers related to diabetes. One in 11 people in the country has diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
I had been invited to be the Mistress of Ceremonies and one of the featured chefs at the Eating Healthy stage, where eight experts prepared diabetes-friendly, super-tasty dishes for our guests. We gave food samples to the crowd, always loaded with advice. At one point during a break, Maria, a member of the audience, approached me with her son. She confided that both had diabetes, and that she could not get her child off junk food and sweets. He was severely overweight.
We talked, she had so many questions. I offered tips on the DASH nutrition plan and kids’ eating habits. I assured her that DASH was easily adaptable to her Latino cuisine and that, since DASH is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy (but light on sugar, sodium and fatty red meats), she would have plenty of delicious choices. I told her that following DASH could help with weight loss, which is so important for diabetes control, and lower both the A1C and fasting blood glucose levels. I also suggested she visit the booth where my colleagues from Advocate Community Providers were handing out educational materials on DASH, as well as fruit and water. Maria thanked me as she dragged her son down the hall. I did not see her again.
Like Maria and her son, 29 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Furthermore, one in four people with diabetes don’t know they have it.
And the staggering figures don’t end there. Another 86 million adults – more than one in three U.S. adults – have prediabetes, which means their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Without dietary modification, weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. Although there is no cure for diabetes, it can be prevented, controlled, and reversed.
March 28 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, designated to draw attention to the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, to encourage everyone to take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test and participate in workplace-friendly activities to learn about reversing the risk for diabetes.
Be proactive, ask your doctor the questions that pertain to YOU and get answers. Then make a promise to yourself and your family to be more active and eat better. In the next 24 hours, 4,660 new cases of diabetes will be diagnosed more than 130 people will develop kidney failure because of diabetes. Diabetes waits for no one. What are you waiting for?