According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of people with diabetes has increased by 3 million in 3 years to a new high of 24 million. This means that almost 8 percent of people in the U.S. have diabetes. Almost a quarter of people over 65 years old have diabetes. In addition, 57 million people have pre-diabetes, which means they are at very high risk for developing diabetes.
Are you or someone in your family at risk for type 2 diabetes? Your risk is higher if you are over 45 years of age, especially if you are over your recommended weight. You are also at higher risk if you are less than 45 years of age and have any one of these risk factors: physically inactive; have close relatives with diabetes; are a member of high-risk ethnic populations such as African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander; have delivered a baby weighing over 9 pounds; have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or triglycerides, polycystic ovary syndrome, tests indicating your body is not handling glucose well, or a history of vascular disease.
If you think you are at risk, ask your doctor or clinic for a fasting blood glucose test. Then, make sure you understand the results when they come back to you. Ask for a copy, and keep that copy somewhere so you can find it and compare future results.
If you are told your results indicate you do have pre-diabetes, is there anything you can do to reduce your risk of developing diabetes? The Diabetes Prevention Program showed the answer is “yes.” By walking 30 minutes daily for 5 days each week at a moderate speed and losing 7 percent of your body weight, 58 percent of the people participating in this study did not develop diabetes.
If you know you have diabetes and you want to learn more about how to make sure you do the best you can by keeping your blood glucose in the range recommended by the American Diabetes Association (70 mg/dL to 130 mg/dL), ask your doctor or clinic for help finding diabetes self-management classes in your community. Doctors and other health care professionals can provide advice and medicines, but the person with diabetes has to manage it every day.
Texas AgriLife Extension Service offers a no cost program that can help you prevent and/or manage type 2 diabetes. The diabetes education program called Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes begins March 2nd , 5:15 P.M. to 7 p.m. at Rylander Library and continues each Monday in March with local health professionals such as Kay Clancy R.N. and Wesley Nurse from Goldthwaite, Dr. Craig Whiting and Natalie Oyler, P.A. from Hoerster Clinic in San Saba and Kelly Tarpley, Registered and Licensed Dietitian from Llano Memorial Health Care Systems.
Source: Carol A. Rice, PhD, RN, Professor and Extension Health Specialist. June 2008. Texas AgriLife Extension Service Family and Consumer Sciences website: http://fcs.tamu.edu/.