You Can Lower Your Risk for Diabetes
November 3, 2020
Many of us are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Approximately 88 million American adults, more than 1 in 3, have prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the vast majority of people with prediabetes – 8 in 10 – don’t know they have it.
Prediabetes is a health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes puts people at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Are you at risk?
You may be at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes if you have the following risk factors:
- Being overweight
- Being 45 years or older
- Having a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week
- Had diabetes during pregnancy
- African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders, Asian American
- Have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
- Have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome
Take the 60-Second Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test from the American Diabetes Association. Then talk with your primary care provider about your risk factors. Your provider may recommend an A1C test – a simple blood test that measures your blood sugar and identifies prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Lower your risk
We all have the power to lower our risk for diabetes. Even if you are diagnosed with prediabetes, it doesn’t mean you will develop type 2 diabetes. Developing sustainable healthy behaviors can reduce your risk and improve your overall health and well-being.
Here’s how to make small changes to lower your risk and improve your health.
- Become a mindful eater. Eating when hungry and stopping when satisfied, full or comfortable allows you to let go of external food rules and return to listening to your body’s internal cues of hunger and fullness. When you eat, be mindful of how the foods make you feel – both physically and mentally.
- Make water your primary beverage. Limit regular soda, juice and sugary drinks like sweet teas, coffee beverages and sports drinks on a daily basis.
- Move more. Shoot for at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have not been active, start slowly to meet your goal and talk with your healthcare provider. Walking is a great way to get started and stay active. Experiment with new activities and find ways to move your body that you truly enjoy!
- Talk with your healthcare provider. Ask your healthcare provider about a diabetes prevention plan, local resources and lifestyle change programs.
My best advice is to take small steps to reach your goals.
Remember, you’re not alone. Visit the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org and Mankato Clinic Diabetes Care Center at www.mankatoclini.com/diabetes-care-center.