Diabetes: Are You At Risk?
Diabetes affects millions of people and is on the rise. We see a surge in the “prediabetic” population not only in adults but also our children. Even at UMB, the prevalence is here. So what can we do?
The first thing you can do is know the facts. There are three types of diabetes, type 1 (generally referred to as early onset or juvenile diabetes), type 2 (the most common form), and gestational (developed during pregnancy). In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into the energy needed for daily life. Type 2 diabetes is about insulin resistance. Your pancreas makes insulin but it isn’t enough to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. Gestational diabetes occurs when pregnant women develop an insulin resistance during their pregnancy which they did not have before.
Next, know your risk. It is important to be aware of the risk of prediabetes. This diagnosis is given when blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Most people diagnosed with prediabetes have no clear symptoms but once diagnosed are in an excellent position to prevent developing type 2 diabetes through changes to their diet and exercise alone. You can take a risk test on the American Diabetes Association’s website to not only gauge your potential risk but also see what resources are available to help you.
Finally, do what you can to reduce your risk or manage your condition. Keep an eye on your fasting blood glucose level (required during your biometric screening for the Wellness Counts incentive program). Get to and stay at a healthy weight, which will not only help mitigate your risk for diabetes but also many other health problems as well. Get in the recommended level of physical activity. Eat a healthy, balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and lower fat dairy products. It’s also important for those diagnosed to stay on their regular treatment regimen. Awareness is the key to managing and maintaining a long, health life.
Sources: http://www.diabetes.org/ and annual aggregate plan report provided by Cigna.
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