Dieticians: Diabetes awareness important before the holidays

SUNBURY – The holidays may have you thinking about big meals and cookies, but nutrition experts say November is National Diabetes Month for a reason.

Karen Buch is Director of Lifestyle Initiatives at Weis Markets. “November is really the perfect time to raise awareness about diabetes and hopefully help people keep that in mind as they do head into the challenging holiday season.  By 2050, they are predicting that 1 in 3 folks will have diabetes… That is an epidemic that we really need to get a handle on.  Not only for our own personal health, but for the healthcare costs of the country.  We need to pull together and think about how we can address this issue.”

Beth Stark is Healthy Living Coordinator at Weis Markets.  She said there are many people out there living with high risk factors that may not even realize it. “Right now 79-million Americans have pre-diabetes.  That may be higher blood sugar than is recommended, but is not a full diagnosis of diabetes.  So there is a lot of things you can do to help manage that high blood sugar to either potentially lower your risk, or prevent diabetes onset all together.  It’s just really being aware of what your risk factors are and getting your screenings done and talking to your doctor.  So that is why we like to bring some awareness to it right before the holidays here in November.”

Some of the high risk factors include obesity, physical inactiveness, high blood cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and having a relative with diabetes.  Buch said anyone with risk factors and everyone over the age of 45 should be screened for diabetes.

Diet and exercise can help to reduce the risks.  Buch said if treated early enough, serious long-term side effects can be prevented.  Buch and Stark were guests on WKOK Sunrise Wednesday.  You can hear that program at here.  (Codi Jade)

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