As diabetes rates continues to rise, few people know they are at risk. During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the YMCA is encouraging people to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in three Americans (84 million people) has prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.
“As one of the leading charitable nonprofits committed to improving the health of our community, the Y wants all people to understand their risk for prediabetes and steps to take to avoid developing type 2 diabetes,” said Karen Bartoletti, Vice President, Health Strategies for the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina. “Developing type 2 diabetes not only puts a tremendous strain on our health care system, but impacts the lives of millions of people and their families each year.”
Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at YMCA.net/diabetes. Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.
Making some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:
Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
Aim for whole grains with every meal.
Be moderately active, getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight.
The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program is now registering for January 2018. To learn more visit ymcanwnc.org/diabetes or your local YMCA.