ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Diabetes affects your employees and your business. Employee absenteeism may increase due to sick days arising from complications of diabetes. It may also cause early retirement, disability, and mortality. Even if employees are present at work, their performance and productivity may suffer.
As a result, your profits may decline. In a 2017 study, the researcher reported reduced productivity due to diabetes estimated at $90 billion in the US. That is a heavy economic burden. Also, work losses are likely to increase as diabetes becomes more widespread.
According to the 2017 statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes ranked sixth as the leading cause of death in New Mexico. Moreover, there are about 567,000 people in New Mexico who have prediabetes.
For more information about prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, you may contact us at Well Life ABQ, a direct primary healthcare provider near you.
As an employer, what can you do to help your employees and your business? We are listing down the following facts that you should know about Type 2 diabetes:
- What are the causes of Type 2 diabetes?
- What are the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes?
- What are the potential risk factors?
- What are the complications of Type 2 diabetes?
- How is Type 2 diabetes diagnosed?
- What are the therapies for Type 2 diabetes?
- Five ways to prevent Type 2 diabetes
What are the Causes of Type 2 Diabetes?
Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps carry blood sugar into the cells of your body. Blood sugar converts into energy. Some people make enough insulin, and some don’t at all (Type 1 diabetes). Other people fail to use insulin properly (Type 2 diabetes). Since glucose doesn’t reach the cells, it stays in the blood. Blood sugar increases, and this results in diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common Type and developed at any age. It usually occurs in middle and older age and is called adult-onset.
What are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?
The CDC cites the following symptoms you must look out for:
- Blurred vision
- Dry skin
- Excessive hunger or thirst
- Frequent urination, usually at night
- General feeling of body weakness
- Sudden weight loss
- Tingling in your hands or feet
- Wounds that heal slowly
What are the Potential Risk Factors?
Potential risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes are age over 40 years old, obesity, family history of Type 2 diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, and exposure to environmental agents. It also includes high blood sugar during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes. It means anyone, you, or your employees can develop Type 2 diabetes.
What are the Complications of Type 2 Diabetes?
High blood sugar may cause various heart and kidney diseases, as well as the loss of vision. Thus, Type 2 diabetes may even increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These complications may affect the health and performance of your employees.
How is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed?
Assessment and lab tests allow early detection and proactive management of diabetes. Well Life ABQ offers assessment, blood tests, and routine screening for your employees.
- Health assessment survey - The survey may include questions about nutrition, obesity, and physical and lifestyle activities. The results serve as a basis for identifying possible therapies and interventions.
- Blood testing - A simple blood test or glucose blood screening can detect diabetes, and Well Life ABQ, a direct primary healthcare provider near you, can administer this for you.
- Diabetes screening - Type 2 diabetes screening typically starts at age 45. If the screening results are normal, a repeat screening completed every three years is recommended by the American Diabetes. If the results are borderline, your employees may visit us for further assessment
Routine screening applies to employees who are less than 45 years old but obese. Other candidates include employees who have heart problems, family history, and high blood pressure.
What are the therapies for Type 2 Diabetes?
- Medications - Prescribed for people with Type 2 diabetes include metformin, meglitinides, thiazolidinediones, and sodium-glucose cotransporter-2. Diabetic medicines work by lowering glucose production and reducing blood sugar levels. They help the body use insulin effectively. Insulin therapy is needed if the body fails to make enough insulin. Insulin is commonly injected into the fat under the skin using a syringe. These medicines have their side effects and precautions.
- Alternative medicine - Alternative medicine includes acupuncture, hydrotherapy, chiropractic maneuvers, massage, and yoga. These therapies are potential alternative therapies for Type 2 diabetes. A medicinal herb such as an Indian plant species manages blood sugar levels. But its safety and efficacy have yet to be evaluated by further studies.
Five Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
1. Eat Right
Healthy choices at the cafeteria, food kiosks, and vending machines help employees eat right.
- Low carbohydrate foods: Low-carb and ketogenic diets are effective for people with obesity or Type 2 diabetes. A low carb diet doesn’t apply to overweight people alone. A study also suggests that a low carb diet may benefit people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes even without weight loss.
- Fiber-rich foods: These are beans, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber-rich foods lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Dietary soluble fiber shows improved glycemic regulation and lowers fat concentrations among people with Type 2 diabetes. Researchers from another study recommend fiber supplementation to reduce fasting blood glucose of people with Type 2 diabetes.
- Whole-grain foods: A cross-sectional study linked whole-grain to a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It improved risk factors associated with the disease, such as obesity and insulin resistance. It can prevent Type 2 diabetes among middle-aged men and women, regardless of whether it is wheat, oats, or rye, as long as it’s whole grain. Other whole-grain foods such as added bran, brown rice, cereal, dark bread, and wheat germ are associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Fewer fats, sugars, red meat, and processed foods: Type 2 diabetes in the US showed an upward trend due to refined carbs intake. A study shows that refined grains and sweet beverages increased the risk of Type 2 diabetes. While consuming less refined sugars and high carb grains lowers the risk for diabetes.
Avoid processed foods that may cause obesity and diabetes. A study reveals that red and processed meats increase the risk of diabetes by 30%. Other “unhealthy” foods are refined grain and high-fat dairy products.
2. Get physical
- Manage weight or shed excess pounds - Weight management may prevent obesity, which leads to prediabetes. For obese people, losing weight may reduce their risk of diabetes. An example of this is the Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle intervention clinical trial among 27-centers with a total of 1,079 participants.
The Program aimed to achieve at least 7% weight loss and 700 calories a week among the participants. The study shows that 16-sessions and individualized programs proved successful and resulted in a 58% reduction in the incidence of diabetes.
- Exercise - Exercise helps lose or maintain weight, control insulin, and lower blood sugar levels. Resistance training improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity among diabetic people. Regular aerobic exercises also improve insulin action and the optimal health of people with diabetes.
- Avoid being sedentary - People working in an office tend to have a sedentary lifestyle. A simple way to avoid being sedentary is standing up for a few minutes every hour. Brisk walking can be an option to moderate or rigorous exercise. It’s known to substantially reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events among diabetic people.
3. Quit smoking and lessen alcohol drinking
A study identifies cigarette smoking as a risk factor for diabetes. Smoking cessation is recommended especially for current smokers to reduce systemic inflammation associated with diabetes. Although, people who quit smoking may experience weight gain. So, it’s essential to manage weight during smoking cessation.
A cohort study examined the connection between alcohol drinking and diabetes risk among 76,484 male and female participants. The study reveals the frequency of alcohol drinking leads to the risk of diabetes. Reducing alcohol drinking to 3-4 days per week was seen to have the lowest risk.
4. Take vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a role in blood sugar control. Studies have shown people who lack vitamin D, with low blood sugar levels have a higher risk of diabetes. Getting a dose of sunlight increases your vitamin D levels. You can also get vitamin D from the food you eat. Some of the vitamin D rich foods are salmon, egg yolks, and red meat.
Other than sun exposure and food, supplements are also available. In a study, prediabetic people with vitamin D deficit took vitamin D supplements. It significantly slowed the progression of diabetes and reduced insulin resistance and inflammation.
5. Think about the influenza/pneumonia vaccine
These vaccines may be beneficial for your employees who may or may not have diabetes. Diabetic employees are at a higher risk of increased glucose levels due to influenza. They are almost three times at risk of dying from it than others who don’t have diabetes.
Researchers from a study recommended influenza vaccination for people with Type 2 diabetes as a secondary form of prevention. It shows decreased rates of hospital admissions for stroke, influenza, pneumonia, and even death.
Diabetes management for you and your employees
Diabetes impacts your employees’ well-being and work performance. It can be prevented and managed. Proper diet, exercise, and avoiding activities that increase the risk of diabetes are some of the preventive strategies. For more information about diabetes, call Well Life ABQ, a direct primary care provider in Albuquerque, New Mexico at 505 585 2345!