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    Small Steps, Big Difference

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | November 7th, 2021

    Small Steps, Big Difference

    Diabetes is personal for me. Most of you who have followed me over the years know that my father and father-in-law died of complications related to diabetes. My father was 53 years old. My father-in-law was much older. November is National Diabetes Month and this year’s focus is on prediabetes and preventing diabetes. The theme this year is Small steps, Big difference – preventing diabetes is within reach.

    According to the CDC, more than 1 in 3 U.S. adults have prediabetes that is 88 million people. Unfortunately, the majority of people do not know they have it. It is so important to know your numbers. What is your hemoglobin A1C level or what is your fasting glucose level? You need to know.

    Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is higher than normal but not so high that you are diagnosed with diabetes. About 50% of people who have prediabetes will progress to having diabetes if they do not intervene. To prevent diabetes, you have to do something because we know that small steps can truly make a big difference.

    The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) makes the following recommendations:

    1. Take small steps – Making changes towards a healthy lifestyle can be difficult. Try making small changes.
    2. Move more – The goal is at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. It does not have to be 30 minutes all at once. You can do three 10 minutes segments. If you cannot do 30 minutes, something is better than nothing.
    3. Choose healthier foods and drinks most of the time – Fruits, vegetables and water need to be your go-to food.
    4. Lose weight, track it, and keep it off – You will be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight. Click on Dr. Ngozi ‘s diet plan –  part 1 and part 2.
    5. Seek support – Make a plan with your health care provider. Tell your family and friends so that they can support you in your endeavor.

    For more information on this campaign to prevent prediabetes, please click here.

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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

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