According to The American Diabetes Association, the total costs of diagnosed diabetes has risen to $327 billion in 2017 from $245 billion in 2012. This figure represents a 26 percent increase over a five-year period. This includes $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.
To confirm a diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes, tests should be conducted in a health care setting, such as a physician office or lab. It is not uncommon for a physician to conduct a follow up test on a second day to confirm findings. Types of diagnostic tests can be performed and include; a hemoglobin A1C (HGB A1C), Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT).
Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults but it can develop at any age. Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas isn’t making insulin or not enough is being made. Insulin helps blood sugar enter the cells in your body, so it can be used for energy. If insulin is not produced at all or very little the blood sugar cannot get into the cells and will build up in the bloodstream. High blood sugar can cause complications and damage to the body. Type 1 is not as common as Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes happens when the cells don’t respond normally to insulin which is called “insulin resistance”. Your pancreas makes more insulin to keep up but eventually the blood sugars increase.
One way to help manage diabetes is through nutritional therapy. While nutrition therapy and meal planning should be individualized on a case by case basis, there are some general guidelines to follow.
- Three to five servings of carbohydrates per meal
- One serving is equal to approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates
- Carbohydrate sources include: grains, breads, pastas, rice, beans/legumes, starchy vegetables, fruits, milk/dairy products, sweets
- One to two servings of carbohydrates per snack
- Make at least half of your grains whole grains
- Whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains
- Fiber helps to slow down the absorption, which in turn helps to stabilize blood sugars
- Eat four to six ounces of protein (chicken, fish, lean meat, low-fat dairy, soy, etc.)
- Include healthy fats: olive oil, avocado, nuts/seeds
- Limit saturated fat, which is found in butter, cream, and high-fat meats
- Avoid/limit trans fats, which are found in many processed foods, baked goods, and may be labeled as “partially hydrogenated oil”
Following a healthful diet and including exercise into your daily routine can have a major impact on the management of diabetes. Making these lifestyle changes will also reduce the chances of complications related to diabetes.