Tuesday, March 22, is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, and the Valley of the Sun YMCA wants our community to know their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as preventive steps they can take today to reduce the chances of developing the disease.
In the United States alone, diabetes affects nearly 29 million people and another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, yet only about 10 percent are aware of it. These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care and the overall well-being of our communities makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes more important than ever before.
The nation’s struggle with obesity and type 2 diabetes is no surprise but the number of people with prediabetes is a growing issue, especially when only 10 percent realize they have the condition. Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Often a preventable condition, people with prediabetes can reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by adopting behavior changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity. People with prediabetes are at risk for not only developing type 2 diabetes, but also cardiovascular disease, stroke and other conditions.
As the leading community-based provider committed to improving the nation’s health Valley of the Sun YMCA encourages all adults to learn their risk for type 2 diabetes by taking a risk test at www.ymca.net/diabetes. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include family history, age, weight and activity level, among others.
“Diabetes Alert Day is the perfect time to not only determine our own risk for prediabetes, but also encourage our family and friends to determine their chances of developing the disease,” said Addey Roscon, Director of Diabetes Prevention, Valley of the Sun YMCA. “Studies show that people with prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by making simple lifestyle changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity.”
The YMCA is helping people make healthier choices that can help reduce the risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes by offering nutrition and education programs like the Y Diabetes Prevention Program.
Some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and an increased focus on healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:
- Reduce portion sizes of the foods you eat that may be high in fat or calories.
- Keep a food diary to increase awareness of eating patterns and behaviors.
- Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
- Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
- Incorporate more activity in your day; like taking the stairs or parking farther away from your destination.
- Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history of the disease or are overweight.