By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City is encouraging residents to exam their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and if at risk to take preventive steps to reduce their chances of developing the disease.
Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.
As the prediabetes rate continues to rise, few Oklahoma City residents know they are at risk. Statistics for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that one in four Americans (86 million people) have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010.
Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it, but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.
“The number of new people with prediabetes continues to rise and with that it is important to help residents in the community understand what a prediabetes diagnosis means,” said Angela Jones, director of health and wellness initiatives for the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City.
“Type 2 diabetes affects not just the person but entire families as well, but the good news is that it is possible to reverse course—simple lifestyle changes reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the Y can help people make the necessary changes to improve health.”
Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at YMCA.net/diabetes.
Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the risk for developing the disease.
Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.
The percentage of U.S. adults aged 20 years or older with prediabetes in 2009-2012 was similar for whites (35 percent), African Americans (39 percent), and Hispanic/Latinos (38 percent).
Making some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Good choices include eating fruits and vegetables every day, choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin, and try to add whole grains to each meal.
Strive to be moderately active, at least 30 minutes each day five days a week, and drink water instead of sugary beverages,
It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about diabetes risk factors, especially if there is a family history of the disease.
“We need a national, concerted effort to prevent additional cases of type 2 diabetes in our nation – and we need it now,” said Dr. Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.
“We have the scientific evidence and we’ve built the infrastructure to do something about it, but far too few people know they have prediabetes and that they can take action to prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes. Partners like the Y are helping us reach that goal by bringing the program to many communities across America.”
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. There are thirteen Y’s across the Oklahoma City metro serving more than 160,000 men, women and children.
Located in more than 10,000 communities across the country, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence to deliver, lasting personal and social change.