November has been designated for diabetes awareness since 1975, but it wasn’t officially recognized until the early 1980s, when then President Ronald Raegan officially declared it so. This blog will look at prediabetes, eye related issues, and working out with video games. If you want to test your knowledge on diabetes, take a quiz from Discover Diabetes. To see what your risk factors are there is another quiz available at the American Diabetes Association.

Prediabetes

An article from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states that prediabetes is a serious health condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, more than 1 in 3 U.S. adults have prediabetes—that’s 88 million people—but the majority of people don’t know they have it.

The good news is that by making small healthy lifestyle changes, it is possible to prevent type 2 diabetes and even reverse your prediabetes.

Here are some tips to help manage prediabetes and prevent diabetes.

Take small steps. Making changes to your lifestyle and daily habits can be hard, but you don’t have to change everything at once. It is okay to start small. Remember that setbacks are normal and do not mean you have failed—the key is to get back on track as soon as you can.

  • Move more. Limit time spent sitting and try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days a week. Start slowly by breaking it up throughout the day.
  • Choose healthier foods and drinks most of the time. Pick foods that are high in fiber and low in fat and sugar. Build a plate that includes a balance of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates. Drink water instead of sweetened drinks.
  • Lose weight, track it, and keep it off. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight.
  • Seek support. It is possible to reverse prediabetes. Making a plan, tracking your progress, and getting support from your health care professional and loved ones can help you make the necessary lifestyle changes.
  • Stay up to date on vaccinations. The COVID-19 (booster shot, if eligible) and flu vaccines are especially important for people who may be more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 or the flu, such as people with diabetes.

Diabetic Related Eye Diseases

According to Prevent Blindness, diabetes-related eye disease refers to eye problems that people with diabetes may face as a complication of the disease.  Diabetes-related retinopathy (DR) is a disease that damages the blood vessels of the eye, causing them to leak and bleed into the retina. Individuals may not experience symptoms in the early stages of DR, which is why it is important for individuals with diabetes to have an eye exam annually, or as directed by their doctor.

If diabetes-related retinopathy is left untreated, fluid can leak into the center of the macula, called the fovea, the part of the eye where sharp, straight-ahead vision occurs. The fluid makes the macula swell, blurring vision. This condition is called diabetes-related macular edema. It can occur at any stage of diabetic retinopathy, although it is more likely to occur as the disease progresses.

Other eye conditions common among people living with diabetes include:

  • Cataract, a clouding of the lens in the eye, which can cause vision to become blurry and colors to become dull. Aside from aging, diabetes is the most common risk factor for cataract.
  • Glaucoma occurs with damage to the optic nerve and possible loss of side vision, usually caused by an increase in fluid pressure inside the eye.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, finding and treating diabetic retinopathy early can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent.

Working Out with Video Games

The following excerpt is from an American Diabetes Association article entitled, Working Out with Video Games.

You may not automatically associate playing video games with fitness. You may think, “Isn’t that how kids waste time when they should be outside getting fresh air and exercise?” Not necessarily. Over the past decade or so, a number of developers have created video games designed to get players of all ages on their feet.

Being active every day is a key part of managing blood glucose, or blood sugar, and reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease. But finding the time and staying motivated can be tricky. Like exercise videos, fitness video games are an excuse-proof exercise because they let you work out in the comfort of your own home. Unlike regular exercise videos, however, video games have sneaky ways to keep you coming back. The value is that there’s an interactivity with the game—so you can win or lose. There’s often competition, either with yourself or a participant. There’s a leaderboard and other reward mechanisms.

Exercise video games, or “exergames,” are highly customized to individual users, thanks to sensors that track a player’s movements. If you complete certain actions, you win points or fun rewards. Don’t like the shirt your onscreen character (or avatar) is wearing? Do a few more leg lifts and you’ll have enough points to choose a new one.

Arguably the best part: Many exergames don’t feel like exercise. These games are designed first and foremost to be fun. Getting the workout is a side effect of playing the game.

*Image source from blog banner comes from: Healthline.

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