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American Diabetes Month: Who Is at Risk for Diabetes?

American Diabetes Month: Who Is at Risk for Diabetes?

November is American Diabetes Month, a time dedicated to increasing awareness of diabetes and its impact on millions of people. In fact, 1 in 7 Americans struggle with this disease every day and as many as seven million people are undiagnosed. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to blindness, nerve damage, or other more serious health conditions like kidney disease.

Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States, which is driving the growing number of people with diabetes, but there is hope. People with type 2 diabetes can lower their risk by more than 50 percent if they make healthy changes like maintaining a healthy diet, getting more regular exercise and losing weight.

Three types of diabetes and their risk factors

The three major types of diabetes are:

  • Type 1 – Type 1 diabetes usually begins in childhood and is a lifelong condition often caused by genetics, diseases of the pancreas, infection or illness.
  • Type 2 ­– Type 2 diabetes usually affects adults, but it can begin at any time in your life. Having Type 2 diabetes means your body is unable to use the insulin it makes. The main risk factors include:
    • Obesity or being overweight
    • Impaired glucose tolerance (prediabetes)
    • Insulin resistance
    • Ethnic background (nonwhite women are at a higher risk for gestational diabetes)
    • Gestational diabetes
    • Sedentary lifestyle
    • Family history
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
    • Age (people over the age of 45 who are overweight are at an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes)
  • Gestational – Gestational diabetes occurs in approximately four percent of all U.S. pregnancies and is caused by hormones made by the placenta or a lack of insulin. Things that can lead to gestational diabetes include:
    • Obesity or being overweight
    • Glucose intolerance
    • Family history
    • Age (older women are at a higher risk for gestational diabetes)
    • Ethnic background

How to delay or prevent diabetes

Whatever your risk factors are, there are four key things you can do to delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Manage your blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise daily
  • Eat a balanced diet

If you or a loved one is struggling with diabetes and you’d like to learn more about the easy and important lifestyle changes you can make to manage your diabetes and lower your risk for other diseases and conditions, contact PVHC at 909-536-1493.