Know Your Risk for Diabetes
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, making this festive time a perfect time to think about your risk for Type 2 Diabetes. As you likely know, this type of Diabetes is preventable, and if you take steps now, you can protect yourself from debilitating damage later in life.
Before developing the disease, most people will develop what is called Prediabetes. According to the CDC, 84 million people are living with this precursor to Type 2 Diabetes, and most of them do not even know that they have it.
Basically, Prediabetes is where blood glucose levels are high, but not high to be considered diabetic levels. It means that the body has already begun to lose its ability to use insulin properly. Therefore, it is important to understand your risk for the disease.
Risk Factors for Diabetes
While some people are genetically predisposed to develop diabetes, there are several main risk factors that you can use as a checklist to see if you are at risk. Risk factors include:
Having a Family History of Diabetes
Having an Inactive Lifestyle
Poor Diet or One High in Carbohydrates and Sugary Foods
If you can check any of the following factors, it is best for you to get a blood glucose level test to see if you have levels considered prediabetic or diabetic.
How to Get Checked for Prediabetes
To get checked for Diabetes, it is best to seek professional medical help. What the doctor or nurse will do is either a finger prick test or draw blood to look at your A1C levels. You may already be familiar with the test strips. This test will measure the amount of glucose in your blood at that point in time. These levels change throughout the day, depending on when your last meal was. A normal level is around 100 mg. This is not a test used for diagnosis, but can be used to determine if an A1C test is needed.
The A1C looks at your blood level average over a three-month period. A level of 5.6 or lower is considered normal.
If you have a 5.7-6.3, it is considered pre-diabetic, and anything 6.4 or higher is considered diabetic.
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
If you think you might be at risk, there are steps you can take now to help prevent the disease. These lifestyle changes will help you control and regulate your weight and blood sugar levels. Some of the changes you can make are
Get at Least 30 minutes of Physical Activity Each Day
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Eat More Whole Grains Rather than White Bread or White Rice
Eat Lean Meats such as Poultry and Fish
Drink Water instead of Sodas
Get the Help You Need