Worried About Diabetes?
The 4 Most Important Ways to Treat or Prevent Diabetes
If you don’t have diabetes, you know someone who does. More than
one in four people over age 65 have diagnosed diabetes, and one in three
adults (over age 20) have pre-diabetes. Pre-
diabetes is a condition in which people have high blood sugar but not
high enough to meet the classification for diabetes.
Diabetes causes high blood sugar that damages your arteries. As a result,
a number of serious problems can occur in your body. For example, eye
problems and blindness, heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, lower
limb amputations and increased risk of death – it’s 1.5 times
higher than those without diabetes!
What can you do to stop diabetes from harming your health? Doctors say
four things are most important.
#1. Get Your Blood Sugar Under Control. It’s Easier Today Than Ever Before
“The great thing about treating diabetes now is there are so many
newer medications that address the diabetic process in ways we didn’t
know existed 20 years ago,” explains David Stern, M.D., Torrance
Memorial Physician Network. “It is important to start using these
new classes of medication early in the process, when your numbers are
only a little bit off so we can keep them as close to normal as possible.”
#2. Eat the Right Diet. (Hint: It’s A Colorful One!)
Obesity is a leading risk factor for developing diabetes. Fortunately,
one of the best ways to lose weight is also a great way to balance blood
sugar: eating a healthy diet.
Eduardo Añorga, M.D., a family practitioner at Madison Park Family
Medical Group in Redondo Beach says, “Stay away from white foods.
White rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, cereals, white flour and sugar are
not your best friends. Consider substitutes of whole grain bread and pasta
and brown rice. Also, limit carbohydrate intake to one serving per meal.
Eat lots of colorful vegetables and small portions of fruit.”
#3. Commit to Regular Exercise. Here’s How Anyone Can Do It
Regular physical activity is critical to treat or prevent diabetes. In
fact, many experts believe our more sedentary lifestyle is the biggest
contributing factor to the rise in diabetes. For one thing, they cause
weight gain and remember, obesity is a risk factor for diabetes.
“Exercise addresses more aspects of health than anything else. It
addresses weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart health risks.
It also improves mental and emotional well-being,” explains Dr.
Stern. “If you’ve been sedentary for a long time, at first
just walking can be uncomfortable. The idea is to exercise at a level
just below what’s uncomfortable and sustain it for at least a half
hour a day. Once your tolerance improves, you can increase your exercise
activities. I recommend exercise you look forward to doing. This will
make it easier to exercise on days when you might be feeling a little
#4. Get Screened Regularly for Diabetes
Diabetes is primarily detected through blood work via a fasting blood glucose.
A result of below 126 mg/dL is desired. Normal range is 80 – 100 mg/dL.
Routine diabetes screening begins at 45-or earlier if you’re diagnosed
obese, have a family history of diabetes or suffer high blood pressure,
high cholesterol or heart disease.
David Stern, M.D., Family Practice, Torrance Memorial Physician Network
can be reached at 310-257-7260. Eduardo J. Añorga, M.D., Family Practice can be reached at 310-944-9344.