In this, National Diabetes Month, it makes sense to take a moment to understand the basics. Maybe the most important of these is this: the prevalence of diabetes is 50 percent higher in truck drivers compared to the general population.
What is diabetes?
This is how the Centers for Disease Control 7 Prevention define the disease: “Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies.”
Now for the numbers:
- Two out of every five Americans are expected to develop type 2 diabetes
- Some 29 million Americans have diabetes
- 86 million adults have pre-diabetes, a condition in which their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.
You are at increased risk of developing pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes if you:
- Are 45 years of age or older.
- Are overweight.
- Have a parent or sibling with diabetes.
- Have a family background that is African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian-American, or Pacific Islander.
- Had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes), or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.
- Are physically active less than three times a week.
Now for the good news. Even modest weight loss – 5 to 7 percent — and regular exercise – 150 minutes a week — can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent in people with pre-diabetes.
Heads Up: Be aware that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has regulations regarding driving with diabetes.