Disease prevention begins now

Generation Y university students have a tendency to live in the moment and not think about long term consequences. In terms of health, young adults are fountains of youth, flexible and in our prime, but according to ScienceDaily, how a person takes care of themselves in your 20s can affect their health into adulthood.

Today is World Diabetes Day — a day to learn and reflect on this disease that affected more than 25 million Americans in 2011, according to the American Diabetes Association. As someone who has friends and family affected by the disease, it only seemed appropriate to shed light on such a detrimental disease.

This disease affects more than old men who ate one too many sweets in their youths. Being affected is more than watching carb intake. Diabetes is a life changing and completely
altering disease.

There are two types of diabetes — Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is when the body does not produce insulin, which is a hormone produced in the pancreas that monitors cholesterol and fat metabolism. This type tends to develop within the first 40 years of someone life and affects approximately 10 percent of all affected people, according to the American Diabetes Association. These patients will have to take insulin shots for the rest of their lives.

Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not produce enough insulin. This type is 90 percent of the case worldwide. With exercise, diet and life management, a person can live with this disease but it will continue to worsen as years progress.

As a common disease you don’t hear much about it. According to The American Diabetes Association data reported in 2011, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes — over 8 percent of the population.

I took a quiz on Diabetes.org, and my results reported I have a low risk of developing diabetes. But that doesn’t mean I am in the clear. Having close relatives who have/had Type 2 diabetes means I have a higher risk of developing the disease.

There is a wide variety of factors that contribute to the development of diabetes including diet, exercise, ethnicity and lifestyle. A study published in April 2013 stated one can of non-diet soda a day can increase a person’s chance of developing diabetes by 22 percent. People of Middle Eastern, African and South Asian ethnicity have a higher chance of developing the disease as well.

Both of my grandpas and my father have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, so it is a disease I have grown up with. I have seen the smaller effects when a friend can’t come get ice cream after dinner or binge on Mac and Cheese with me. I have grown up with a well-balanced diet at home of almost always two veggies, protein and a healthy carb.

Anyone can do little things to lower their risk of developing diabetes — stay active, eat healthy, watch cholesterol and don’t smoke! These are things that we can do to prevent our risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and many other disease typically associated with age.

Use this day as an opportunity to educate yourself and make a lifestyle change — regardless of age.