Did you know that more than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes? There are 1.4 million new cases each year alone in the U.S. In addition, 86 million Americans are living with prediabetes, the stage just before diabetes when not all the symptoms are present that warrant a diagnosis.1
What Are the Risk Factors?
- Age: As we age we are more at risk for developing diabetes. Specifically, being over the age of 45 puts you at higher risk.
- Weight: Being overweight can put you at risk for diabetes. The more fat we have in our bodies the more resistant our cells are to insulin, a hormone produced by our pancreas.
- Family History: Has anyone in your immediate family (mother, father, sister or brother) been diagnosed with diabetes?
- Race: Diabetes occurs more often in individuals who are African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic/Latino-American, and Pacific Islander backgrounds.
- Physical Inactivity: Exercising less than 3 days a week can put you at risk.
- History of Gestational Diabetes: Were you ever diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy? Or had a baby who weighed 9 pounds or more?
- High Blood Pressure: Have you been told that you have high blood pressure, a reading of 140/90 or higher?
- Low HDL Cholesterol: Is your “good” cholesterol less than 35 mg/dL?
- Abnormal Triglyceride Levels: Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood stream. Levels of triglycerides above 250 mg/dL can put you at increased risk.
Are You at Risk?
To find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, complete the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test on American Diabetes Association website.
There are several ways to diagnose diabetes. Each way usually needs to be repeated on a second day to diagnose diabetes. Testing of your blood glucose levels should be carried out in a health care setting (such as your doctor’s office or a lab) and you should follow the advice and instructions of your health care professional.
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. When you have prediabetes, your blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal but are not high enough to be called diabetes. Diabetes can lead to many health problems, so it’s better to prevent it in the first place. You can take steps to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and heart disease.3
How Can You Prevent or Delay Diabetes?
You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes from developing by:
- Cutting back on calories and saturated fat.
- Losing weight.
- Increasing your daily physical activity.4
If you’re overweight, losing 7% of your total weight can help you a lot. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose 14 pounds.
How Do You Decide What to Do?
You don’t have to make big changes. Small steps can add up to big results. Talk with your health care team to make a plan. Always consult with a health care professional before starting any exercise program. A good goal for most people is:
- Walking briskly for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
- Being more active throughout the day by parking further from the store, or taking the stairs.
Make a plan to eat less fat and calories. You can meet with a dietitian to talk about what to eat and how to lose weight. You might try:
- Starting each dinner with a salad of leafy greens. Salad provides nutrients and fills you up. Then you might eat less of any high-calorie foods that might come later.
- Switching from regular soda and juice to no-calorie water.