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Are You at Risk for Diabetes?

A person checking their blood sugar

There are more than 25.8 million people in the United States with diabetes, seven million of whom do not know they have it. Type 2 diabetes is the most common. (Type 1 diabetes occurs in only about 5% of people with diabetes.) Type 2 diabetes results when your body does not properly convert the sugar from the foods you eat into energy and the sugar builds up in the blood. Learn the risks for developing diabetes, and improve your chances of preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes.

RISKS OF TYPE 2 DIABETES

As published by the American Diabetes Association

Are you…?

  • 45 years or older
  • Not getting regular exercise
  • Overweight
  • A smoker
  • A woman who has had gestational diabetes or a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • A brother, sister or child of a person with diabetes
  • Non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic-Latino American, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Diagnosed with high blood pressure
  • Diagnosed with low HDL cholesterol

LOWERING YOUR RISK

You can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Reduce your weight by 5-10%
  • Are active for 30 minutes a day by walking, gardening or dancing
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat fewer processed foods, “fast foods” and sugary drinks like soda or juices
  • Eat more vegetables, whole grain foods, fresh foods, fish and lean meats and poultry
  • Keep blood pressure less than 120/80
  • Have yearly physical check-ups
  • Work together with your healthcare provider to stay in control of your health

More often than not, there are no symptoms of type 2 diabetes in the beginning. If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, and/or are having symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes – fatigue, frequent urination, unusual thirst, and unexplained weight loss – talk to your healthcare provider immediately about your risks and concerns.

WHAT DOES “A LITTLE SUGAR” MEAN?

“A little sugar” is sometimes used to describe a medical condition called prediabetes. Most people with type 2 diabetes start out with elevated prediabetes blood sugar levels. There are 79 million Americans who have prediabetes. If you’ve been told you have a little sugar or prediabetes, you can delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes by losing weight, being active, quitting smoking, and eating better.

About the Author

VNSNY CHOICE Editorial Team