walk your dog and avoid diabetes

walk your dog and avoid diabetesTaking your dog for a good long walk may be your first step toward preventing diabetes.

Diabetes is epidemic in the United States and all around the world. A landmark study by the Diabetes Prevention Program Research group found that lifestyle changes such as following a healthy low-calorie, low-fat diet and introducing moderate physical activity was most effective in reducing the occurrence of diabetes.

Initiate the lifestyle change by making exercise part of something you have to do anyway. Leash up Fido for a walk in the neighborhood rather than just letting him out in the yard. This spring, cut the lawn with a grass whip rather than with a motorized mower. Whatever your method, set as your minimal goal to achieve exercise levels that are equivalent to brisk walking for 150 minutes a week.

To find out if you are at risk for diabetes, ask your doctor to order a blood test called HbA1c, which measures average glucose levels for the three months leading to the test.

“HbA1c only requires a single blood draw and the results can be available after only a couple of days,” says Ella Rosenbloom, MD, endocrinologist. “A value that is greater than 6.4% indicates that you have diabetes; a value between 5.7% and 6.4% puts you into the pre-diabetic range. Without proper care and attention, pre-diabetes can progress to diabetes.”