Tuesday, March 27, is American Diabetes Association (ADA) Alert Day®, and the Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA wants residents of 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 over 30 million people; another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, yet only about nine percent are aware of it. These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care (in 2012 alone, the ADA estimates that diabetes cost the health care system $245 billion) 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 so few people 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 preventable, 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 network committed to improving the nation’s health the AMA YMCA encourages all adults to take a diabetes risk test at amaymca.org/diabetesprevention. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include family history, age, weight and activity level, among others.
Take the RISK TEST:
“ADA Alert Day can serve as a wake-up call for people to learn their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes—conditions that are preventable if they take steps to improve their health,” said Sandy Watkins, Diabetes Prevention Coordinator, Arlington-Mansfield Area YMCA. “Many people don’t realize they are at risk and finding out is not only good for your health, but good for your wallet too.”
The AMA YMCA is helping people potentially reduce the risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes by offering an evidence-based program that has shown increasing physical activity and losing a modest amount of weight, a person with prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by more than half. “I was taking medication in September 2017, now I am medication free,” said Terry, a YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program participant.” I have lost 15 pounds which reduces my BMI and am now out of the obese range.”
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 diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history of the disease or are overweight.
The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program is part of the United Way LIVE WELL Initiative.