This week thousands of spectators crowded around 30 Rockefeller Plaza to see the lighting of its world-famous Christmas tree. No doubt the holiday season is upon us, and soon we’ll be surrounded by sweets and baked goods. Perfect timing for our show this week where I focused on the millions of Americans who need to watch each grain of sugar that passes through their lips. I’m talking about people who suffer from diabetes – there’s over 25 million of them, and everyone with extra weight is at risk.
Diabetes is a disease in which your blood contains too much sugar. For most people, it’s because their excess weight makes them resistant to insulin, the hormone that transports sugar out of blood and into places like muscle. That excess sugar is like shards of glass scraping the inside of your arteries, and it dramatically increases your risk of heart attacks, limb amputations, blindness, and other devastating complications.
The scariest part of the whole diabetes epidemic? A staggering 40% of those suffering from the disease don’t even know they have it! Another 57 million people suffer from a condition known as pre-diabetes, in which blood sugars are dangerously close to slipping into diabetic range.
If you’re over 40 years old, you must get screened. If you’re younger but have risk factors -- like high cholesterol, a BMI over 25, hypertension, inactive lifestyle, or a family history -- you should also get screened. There’s one reason above all others to get tested – diabetes is a disease that you can prevent. And if you do get it, you often have the power to actually reverse it. For tips on getting screened and learning what your numbers mean, visit the Know Your Numbers Challenge.
We first met a wonderful young man, Jared, at our free diabetes screening event in Times Square that we held with Oprah’s fitness guru, Bob Greene. We brought Jared to our studio, where I was shocked to discover that his blood glucose level was over twice the tolerable level. I had no choice but to send him straight from our studio to the emergency room. He was afraid -- and I was afraid for him -- but I knew this was the wake up call Jared needed to change his life. We’ll be following Jared as we help him make the journey from diabetes back into health and wellness.
My hope is that YOU also learn from Jared’s story. Check out Bob Greene’s 12-Week Fitness Plan and the Best Life daily menu for diabetes or pre-diabetes. Be aware of the types of food you are putting into your body. And this holiday season, remember that there’s no greater gift you can offer your loved ones than your own health.