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Author: Nicole Villeneuve
84 million people in the United States are at risk for type 2 diabetes–that’s 1 in every 3 adults. Find out today if you’re one of them.
March 26th is Diabetes Alert Day, the American Diabetes Association’s annual reminder to determine your diabetes risk and take preventative action.
Through early diagnosis of a condition called prediabetes, you can delay or prevent some of the complications of the disease, which include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, and even amputations.
What Is Prediabetes?
Before you develop type 2 diabetes, you can be diagnosed with prediabetes. This is a condition that means you are between healthy and diabetic levels of blood glucose. About half of doctors don’t test their patients for prediabetes, which means that about 9 in 10 people who have it don’t know about it.
This number is startling because prediabetes is often reversable according to the American Diabetes Association. By adjusting your diet, exercising more, losing weight, and making other lifestyle changes, you can return your blood glucose levels to a healthy range, ultimately preventing yourself from developing type 2 diabetes.
What Increases My Risk?
Knowing the common risk factors for type 2 diabetes can help you slow or event prevent the disease. Some will not surprise you, but others might; some are things we can’t help, but others are things you can start changing right away. Here are some of the most common risk factors:
- Weight: The more overweight you are, the higher your risk; by shaving off just 7% of your starting body weight, though, you can cut your risk in half.
- Inactivity: To lower your risk, aim to exercise 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes.
- Smoking: If there’s one thing you to do decrease your risk, it’s making a plan to quit. Add type 2 diabetes to the long list of health problems that smoking can lead to.
- Family history: You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if one of your parents or siblings has it.
- Gender: Men are at a greater risk for type 2 diabetes than women. However, a woman’s risk increases 7 times over her female peers if she has had gestational diabetes (a temporary form of the disease that can occur during pregnancy).
- Age: As with many diseases, your risk for type 2 diabetes increases with age.
- Race: Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in certain ethnic communities, including African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
- Other health concerns: high levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose all put you at greater risk.
On top of these risk factors, the ADA provides a list of common symptoms of type 2 diabetes: fatigue, excessive thirst, hunger after meals, blurry vision, frequent urination, pain or a tingly numb feeling in your extremities, being prone to infection, or healing slowly from small wounds.
How Do I Find Out If I Have Prediabetes?
This free 1-minute prediabetes risk test will help you determine your level of risk for developing the disease.
If you learn that you are at an increased risk, talk to your doctor. There are a number of different tests that can be used to diagnose diabetes by showing whether your blood glucose level is in the normal, prediabetic, or diabetic range. It’s important to seek testing, because the earlier you are diagnosed, the better you can manage your symptoms and prevent complications.
And if you do have prediabetes, there are great resources out there to help reverse it. The PlateJoy Diabetes Prevention program offers recipe planning, coaching, and digital tools that can help you lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It’s even covered by several insurance plans! Click here to see if you qualify, and get a Fitbit included at no cost to you.
– Emily Polson
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