November is Diabetes Awareness Month and a good time to be reminded everyone should be screened for diabetes and prediabetes if at-risk!
No one is excused from diabetes. In Alaska, 5.2% of Alaska Natives (AN) in 2014 had diabetes and 5.6% of ANs in the TCC region had diabetes. Chances are you either have diabetes or know someone who has diabetes. The numbers are even higher for people with prediabetes.
A person with prediabetes has a blood sugar level higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. He or she is at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, including heart disease, and stroke. Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
Risk factors for prediabetes include;
- Age, especially after 45 years of age
- Being overweight or obese
- A family history of diabetes
- Having the following ethnic backgrounds; American Indian/Alaska Native, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
- History of diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes)
- Being physically active less than three times a week
The only way to know for sure if you have prediabetes is to have your blood sugar checked by an accredited lab such as the one at CAIHC. If you already have diabetes or prediabetes you may getting your blood checked regularly. Keep up the good work!
If you know someone who has one or more of the above risk factors and has not had their blood checked within the past few years; it might be time for a visit with their provider. Even younger folks can have prediabetes and not know it!
A risk assessment tool developed by the CDC is available online and can help you figure out your risk of developing prediabetes. The test can be found at www.DoIHavePrediabetes.org and completed in less than 2 minutes.
If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, make sure to have regular visits with your provider and meet with the Diabetes Program to learn what you can do to manage your health.