Living with diabetes blog

Diabetes awareness: Assess your risk of diabetes

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N. March 27, 2012

Did you know that 25 percent of those who have type 2 diabetes don't even know they have it? March 27th is American Diabetes Association Alert Day. We'd like to encourage everyone to take their Diabetes Risk Test and share it with your family and friends. It took me less than a minute! You can find the test here:

http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/diabetes-risk-test/?loc=DropDownDB-RiskTest

Risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes

  • Being overweight or obese can keep your body from making and using insulin properly, as well as cause high blood pressure.
  • Having a parent or sibling with diabetes more than doubles the risk of getting the disease.
  • Being of certain races, such as black, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander or Hispanic.
  • Having had gestational diabetes or given birth to at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms).
  • Having high blood pressure measuring 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or higher.
  • Having abnormal cholesterol, with a high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good cholesterol" of 35 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 0.9 mmol/L or lower, or triglyceride levels over 250 mg/dL (2.8 mmol/L).
  • Exercising infrequently — less than three times a week.

Reduce your risk
If you're at medium to high risk for type 2 diabetes, talk with your health care provider. Although you can't control all risk factors, early diagnosis and making healthy lifestyle changes can prevent or delay complications from diabetes — such as heart disease, stroke, blindness and death.

If you're at risk of developing diabetes in the future, reduce your risk by making changes such as the following.

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. If you're overweight, you can lower your blood glucose and reduce your risk of prediabetes by losing weight — even just 5 to 10 percent of your total weight.
  • Reduce fat and calories in your diet. Limit dietary fat to no more than 30 percent of your total calories. Include a fruit or vegetable with each meal, and eat more whole grain foods and fewer foods made of refined flours. For second helpings, choose vegetables, salad or fruit. Drink plenty of water, and limit the amount of juice and sugar-sweetened sodas that you drink.
  • Get regular physical activity. If you're not currently active, talk with your health care provider about getting started on an exercise program. Your health care provider can help you find physical activities appropriate for you.

Find out your risk for diabetes today and get started on a healthier lifestyle.

Have a good week,

Peggy

Mar. 27, 2012