Unfortunately, figures show that within the United States, the prevalence of diabetes has more than tripled since the year 1990. Eight percent of North Americans have diabetes, with 20 percent having developed pre-diabetes. 

Since 2001, multiple studies have been published suggesting preventative measures. All studies were conducted on those individuals with pre-diabetes. The results being very similar even though the studies were conducted globally. In general, those who exercised regularly and lost weight showed a marked reduction in progression to true diabetes.

So, what should you do if you are concerned about the onset of diabetes?

1. Determine your level of risk

Individuals who are at higher risk for developing diabetes include:

  • Pre-diabetics.
  • Image Source (body mass index of over 29).
  • High blood pressure.
  • Aged above 65 years.
  • Family Image Source including parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, who suffered from type 2 diabetes. Appears to indicate a family gene which causes a predisposition to diabetes.
  • Elevated triglycerides and/ or low levels of HDL-cholesterol.
  • Family history of pregnancy-induced diabetes (gestational diabetes).
  • Babies heavier than nine pounds at birth. A low birth weight (below 5.5 pounds) also means a higher predisposition to diabetes.

Ethnic groups within the United States who tend to show higher risk include:

  • African Americans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Asian Americans
  • Pacific Islanders
  • Native Americans  

In fact, the above categories of people are almost twice as much at risk as white Americans.
Should you fall into one or more of the categories highlighted above, then consider the preventative measures listed below. Do keep in mind however, that in the prevention trials, only those with pre-diabetes have been evaluated.

2. Weight loss
Results consistently show that for those who are overweight, a five to 10 percent weight loss significantly reduces risk for diabetes progression. A daily calorific intake reduction of 500 kcal will result in a loss of approximately one pound per week.

3. Moderate exercise
Exercise can reduce the progression to full-blown diabetes as well as heart disease. Exercise does not need to be intense in order for it to have a positive impact. However, do keep in mind that exercise without necessary dietary changes will probably have little effect.

4. Medication
A number of medications have shown beneficial in reducing progression to diabetes. Among them:

  • Metformin
  • Rosiglitazone (Avandia)
  • Pioglitazone (Actos)
  • Acarbose (Precose)

Metformin is – for the time being – the drug of choice where diabetes prevention is concerned. It’s particularly effective in younger, obese subjects.

Key Facts About Diabetes

  • Almost 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes
  • 86 million Americans have prediabetes
  • 1.7 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year

2015 Diabetes Statistics in the United States

  • 29.1 million Americans, about 9.3% of the population have diabetes.
  • 21 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes.
  • An estimated 8.1 million Americans have undiagnosed diabetes – about 27.8% of diabetes is undiagnosed.
  • 1.7 million Americans over the age of 20 are diagnosed every year.
  • Of all people over age 20, 12.3% have diabetes.
  • Of all people over age 65, 25.9% have diabetes – about 11.2 Americans.

Paul Harris is a life insurance professional and advisor with over 20 years of experience. He always tries to match his customers with the right policy for their situation.

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