DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States.
It can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and other health problems if it’s not controlled.
One in 11 Americans has diabetes – that’s more than 29 million people. Another 86 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The good news? People who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than half if they make healthy changes. These changes include: eating healthy, increasing physical activity, and losing weight.
What You Should Know
You are at increased risk for developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if you:
- Are 45 years of age or older.
- Are overweight.
- Have a parent with diabetes.
- Have a sister or brother with diabetes.
- Have a family background that is African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American-Indian, Asian-American, or Pacific-Islander.
- Had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes), or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.
- Are physically active less than three times a week.
What are Diabetes and Prediabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.
A person with prediabetes has a blood sugar level higher than normal, but not high enough yet for a diagnosis of diabetes. He or she is at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke.
What You Can Do
Research shows that modest weight loss and regular physical activity can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by up to 58% in people with prediabetes. Modest weight loss means 5% to 7% of body weight, which is 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Getting at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity, such as brisk walking, also is important.