Wake up America! Did you know that nine out of 10 Americans most at risk for type 2 diabetes don’t know it? The American Diabetes Association Alert Day is revolved around informing the public about the seriousness of type 2 diabetes, especially when left untreated.
Diabetes has affected millions of people around the world. Although it is not a curable disease, it is very treatable. People diagnosed with diabetes can live very long and healthy lives if they get proper treatment and take care of themselves.
Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. This is due to the body’s inability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body does not make insulin. This causes your immune system to attack and destroy the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. This type of diabetes usually occurs in children and young adults. However, it can occur at any age.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and is often found among middle-aged and older people. But can be found in children or any age as well. This type of diabetes prevents your body from making or using insulin well.
There is also gestational diabetes, which develops in some pregnant women. This type of diabetes will often go away after the baby is born. Nonetheless, gestational diabetes increases your chances of having type 2 diabetes later in life.
If you have a minute to spare, you can find out if you run the risk of getting type 2 diabetes by taking an online test created by the American Diabetes Association. Once you answer a few questions about yourself, the results will be given to you on risk scale from 1-10.
However, even if your results show a low probability of getting type 2 diabetes, your risk of getting diagnosed may change over time. It’s encouraged to schedule regular check-ups with your doctor and take healthy steps toward preventing or delaying diabetes.
Now, if your results show you run a high risk of having type 2 diabetes, don’t fret! There are steps you can take in order to lower your risk:
• Watch your weight
Staying at a healthy weight can help prevent and manage prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol.
• Physical Activity
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of the two. Strength training for all major muscle groups are recommended to do at least two times a week. Reducing the amount of time sitting or being still is important as well. Setting aside 30 minutes every day to walk or stretch around the house or office can be very helpful.
• Small changes
Lifestyle changes don’t come easy. But they don’t need to be immediate and grand. Making gradual changes such as altering your diet, keeping a food log, setting goals for yourself and being willing to make a change can be effective in lowering your risk of diabetes.
Monongalia County Health Department offers a Diabetes Clinic run by registered nurse and nationally certified diabetes instructor Kendra L. Barker. The clinic runs on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and requires an appointment to attend. The clinic provides education on diabetes and how patients can manage their symptoms, as well as the initial testing required to determine if you have diabetes.
If you’ve had a family history of diabetes or have some spare time, take the online risk test and ease your worries. If your results concern you, come and get tested. Call MCHD Clinical Services at 304-598-5119 to make an appointment.