My grandpa has had type 2 diabetes for as long as I can remember. I’ve never seen him where he hasn’t had to take insulin daily. With diabetes comes a whole slew of other medical issues: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, foot ulcers and vascular dementia. No child should know so many medical terms and their meanings at such a young age. No child should have to constantly worry about their elder. The kind of diabetes he has was self-induced, thus leading to his other medical conditions to be heightened. Because of that, he missed out on so many things in his grandchildren’s lives.
Type 2 diabetes typically forms in adults over 45 years old. One in 10 Americans have diabetes and for around 90%, it is type 2, meaning most of those people were able to prevent it. According to the CDC, type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making a lifestyle change. Eating healthier, drinking more water and physical activity all contribute to that desired lifestyle.
When creating a healthy lifestyle, you must look at every aspect of your life and create those habits to succeed. It can’t be achieved by only working out once a week or eating one healthy meal a day. It must be sustainable to fit into your everyday life. Some of the fad “diets” circulating around social media aren’t practical to incorporate into your life, they only focus on caloric intake. There are too many people counting calories instead of chemicals.
A healthy lifestyle is cheaper than medical bills and time spent in doctor offices. More importantly, it isn’t just about living a long life, it’s about living a long life with quality. Who wants to be severely limited in their capabilities during their final 30 years of living?
Fruits and veggies are on the top of every list related to “healthy eating,” yet most Americans do not consume the proper amount. Experts say 10 servings a day would create a longer life, and if everyone did this, 7.8 million deaths could be prevented in the world. Other foods that contribute to a healthy diet are whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish, nuts and beans.
Since becoming more interested in overall health and well-being, I have made so many realizations. Just by eating healthy, in combination with an overall healthy lifestyle, so many more people in America can live a high-quality life. It truly is amazing when you have such a close connection to someone affected with a chronic disease.
If my grandpa just ate healthily and exercised consistently throughout his life prior to his diagnosis, I could have had a grandfather that was able to do activities with his grandchildren. All of this leads to the question, why are Americans largely focused on treating diabetes instead of preventing it?