By Amy Cowell, Program Evaluator, U.S. Army Public Health CommandNovember 3, 2014
November is the American Diabetes Association's American Diabetes Month with programs designed to focus the nation's attention on the issues surrounding diabetes and the many people who are impacted by the disease. Right now nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States are living with diabetes and another 86 million are pre-diabetic─having a blood sugar level higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. These individuals are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. That means that nearly 1 in 3 Americans have pre-diabetes, yet the vast majority of people with pre-diabetes do not even know they have it. This is particularly troubling because without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15 to 30 percent of people with pre-diabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years. Women who have had diabetes while pregnant and people of African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American-Indian, Asian-American, or Pacific-Islander background are at increased risk.
It is important to find out early if you have pre-diabetes, because early treatment can prevent serious problems that diabetes can cause, such as loss of eyesight or kidney damage. Several risk factors increase a person's risk for pre-diabetes. Take the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's test below to see if you are at risk.
TAKE THE TEST--KNOW YOUR SCORE!
Answer these seven simple questions:
Are you a woman who has had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth? (yes: 1 point; no: 0 points)
Do you have a sister or brother with diabetes? (yes: 1 point; no: 0 points)
Do you have a parent with diabetes? (yes: 1 point; no: 0 points)
Are you younger than 65 years of age and get little or no exercise in a typical day? (yes: 5 points; no: 0 points)
Are you between 45 and 64 years of age? (yes: 5 points; no: 0 points)
Are you 65 years of age or older? (yes: 9 points; no: 0 points)
Do you weigh as much as or more than the weight listed for your height? (see chart below) (yes: 5 points; no: 0 points)
Height Weight (lbs)
For each "Yes" answer, add the number of points listed. All "No" answers are 0 points.
IF YOUR SCORE IS 3 TO 8 POINTS
This means your risk is probably low for having pre-diabetes now. Keep your risk low. If you are overweight, lose weight. Be active most days, and don't use tobacco. Eat low-fat meals with fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods. If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, talk to your health care provider about your risk for Type 2 diabetes.
IF YOUR SCORE IS 9 OR MORE POINTS
This means your risk is high for having pre-diabetes now. Please make an appointment with your health care provider soon.
Make a change for life! The good news is that those who are pre-diabetic can avoid becoming diabetic and even reverse their pre-diabetic status through lifestyle changes. Research shows that modest weight loss and regular physical activity can help prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes by up to 58 percent in people with pre-diabetes. Modest weight loss means 5 percent to 7 percent of body weight, which is 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Getting at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity, such as brisk walking, also is important for prevention.
Resources are available to help with pre-diabetes. Please visit the websites listed at the right for more information.