HealthBuzz: More than 370 Million People Have Diabetes

26 healthy steps that can lead to longevity; is diabetes your destiny?

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Worldwide, Half of Those With Diabetes Go Undiagnosed

Today is World Diabetes Day: An annual celebration led by the International Diabetes Foundation that's designed to spread awareness of the fast-growing epidemic. In 2012, nearly 5 million people died due to diabetes, according to the IDF. And while more than 371 million people are living with diabetes, half are undiagnosed. The disease is sometimes seen as a Western problem, as it's associated with obesity-linked type 2 diabetes, but every country is seeing an increase in the number of people with diabetes. According to the IDF's 2012 Diabetes Atlas, Africa is hit particularly hard by the disease. Of the 15 million Africans with diabetes, more than 80 percent go undiagnosed. Africa also has the highest mortality rate due to diabetes and is expected to see the number of people with the disease nearly double in the next 20 years.

While type 1 diabetes is not preventable, risk of type 2 can be curbed by maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active. Ronald Tammler, an endocrinologist at Mount Sinai Diabetes Center in New York, told Fox News that exercise and healthy eating are positive steps in managing both types of the disease. "Changing your lifestyle is more powerful than the vast majority of medications," he said. "Changing what you eat, exercise and what physical activity you integrate into your life—whether it's just walking—it doesn't have to be in a gym."

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  • 26 Healthy Steps That Can Lead to Longevity

    How well you age and how long you live aren't cemented at birth. While genes play a large role—as do environmental influences you can't control—you have tremendous sway, for better or for worse, over your health and longevity. These 26 steps, drawn from the U.S. News How to Live to 100 project, can help you secure a long and healthy life—and avoid expiring before your time.

    All ages:

    + Stay active. Cut your chances of being mowed down prematurely by major scourges like heart disease and cancer by exercising regularly. Get your heart rate up for 150 minutes each week through moderately intense aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, or for 75 weekly minutes through more intense activities, such as jogging. Strength training at least twice a week is also important, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    + Stay lean. Packing on extra pounds not only jeopardizes health, but can set the stage for arthritis and mobility problems.

    + Eat wisely. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low- and nonfat dairy, legumes, lean meats, and fish are staples of a healthy diet.

    + Limit red meat to no more than 18 (cooked weight) ounces per week, suggests the American Institute for Cancer Research. Harvard School of Public Health researchers recently linked daily consumption of red meat—particularly processed varieties—with increased risk of premature death, especially from cancer and heart disease.

    + Keep alcohol to a minimum: no more than two daily drinks for men and one for women. Certain cancers may be the alternative. [Read more: 26 Healthy Steps That Can Lead to Longevity]

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    • Is Diabetes Your Destiny?

      My father, my mother's mother, and my brother were all affected by diabetes, writes U.S. News blogger Bonnie Taub-Dix. Genetically, for me, that's like waiting to be summoned for jury duty; you know you may eventually be called, but you don't quite know when it will be your turn.

      But if diabetes is going to tap at my door, I'm refusing to put out a welcome mat. An estimated 25.8 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, which arises when either the pancreas isn't producing enough insulin or the insulin produced isn't being used adequately, often called insulin resistance. Roughly 79 million American adults have pre-diabetes, where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to warrant a diagnosis. What's more, 7 million people don't even know they have the condition. These statistics are frightening, especially because type 2 diabetes—which used to be considered an adult disease—is increasingly affecting children.