Health & Wellness

Diabetes - Evaluating your risk

Could you be at risk for diabetes and not know it? According to research by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the total incidence of diabetes increased 13.5 percent from 2005 to 2007. Knowing your diabetes risk factors means you can take proactive steps to lower your risk and follow-up regularly with your physician to ensure any issues are addressed early on.

Type cast

The most common form of diabetes is type 2, which means either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells “ignore” the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy, and when glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can result in temporary and long-term health issues.

Risky business

One of the best ways to lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes is to be aware of your risk factors:

Age: Your risk increases with age, in part because the risk for developing cardiovascular disease—another risk factor for diabetes—also increases with age.

History of diabetes during pregnancy: Women who have had diabetes during pregnancy or given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds are at an increased risk for developing diabetes later in life.

Family history of diabetes: If a member of your immediate and/or extended family has diabetes, your chance of developing diabetes increases.

Race or ethnic background: The prevalence of diabetes is at least 2 to 4 times higher among African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians and Asians/Pacific Islanders.

History of high blood pressure: Individuals with a history of heart disease, including high blood pressure, are at a greater risk.
Being overweight: If your body mass index, or BMI, is greater than 25, you are at higher risk. Typically, a high BMI indicates being overweight or obese.

Low physical activity level: Physical activity helps keep blood glucose levels in check.

This article was compiled from information provided by the American Diabetes Association,

Take Control

If you are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, the good news is that a recent Diabetes Prevention Program study conclusively shows you can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes by making changes in your diet and increasing your level of physical activity. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 days a week, coupled with a 5 to 10 percent reduction in body weight, produced a 58 percent reduction in diabetes.

Of course, there are some risk factors you cannot control such as age, race, gender and family history. If you are at higher risk for diabetes, talk with your healthcare provider about being screened and taking the appropriate steps.

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Checkup Chart

Use these guidelines to help you know when to ask your doctor about screens to prevent diabetes and heart disease