Knowing risk factors can help prevent diabetes

SYCAMORE — November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and the Kishwaukee Family YMCA is encouraging residents of DeKalb County to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

One in three Americans – 79 million people – has prediabetes, a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. With awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes can prevent the onset of diabetes.

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at  YMCA.net/diabetes-prevention/risk.html and can learn how lifestyle choices help determine their ultimate risk of developing the disease. Risk factors include family history, age, weight and activity level, among others. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm if they have diabetes or prediabetes.

“The Y is dedicated to improving the nation’s health and well-being, and helping residents of DeKalb County understand their risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes,” said Kara Gallagher, director of strategic health initiatives. “Choosing to make healthy changes is the first step.” 

The Kishwaukee Family YMCA can help through the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program. The program helps those at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles by eating healthier, increasing physical activity and losing a modest amount of weight.

Based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the program can reduce the number of cases of type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent.

The next class is scheduled to begin Nov. 29.

While the nation’s obesity epidemic and the rise in type 2 diabetes is well chronicled, prediabetes remains a growing and often underreported condition. Currently only 7 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it, and people with prediabetes are at serious risk for not only developing type 2 diabetes, but also heart disease, stroke and other conditions.

To learn more about the Kishwaukee Family YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, contact Gallagher at 815-756-9577, ext. 38 or kgallagher@kishymca.org.

Reduce Your Risk

To help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the Y suggests some basic lifestyle changes:

• Eat fruits and vegetables daily

• Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin

• Aim for whole grains with every meal

• Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week

• Drink water instead of beverages with added sugar

• Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk, especially if you have a family history or are overweight.

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