Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes?

When I speak with a person who has just been diagnosed with diabetes I hear a very similar theme.  Some things I hear are “I don’t know what I did to make this happen,” “I must have been eating too much sugar,” “I didn’t know this would happen to me,” “My grandmother had diabetes and lost her legs.  I am scared this will happen to me.”

Type 2 diabetes is rarely a sudden onset.  Most people have been at risk for or had type 2 diabetes for months to years and were unaware.  If you would like to find out your risk for type 2 diabetes, take the “are you at risk” test at the American Diabetes Association website.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) nearly 90 percent of people with prediabetes are not aware they have it.  If current trends continue it is suggested that 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years (CDC, 2016).

Okay, that is the bad news.  So what is the good news?  The good news is that research shows prediabetes often can be reversed through lifestyle changes.  Prediabetes does not have to progress to diabetes.  Being aware of whether or not you have prediabetes would be important in order to monitor your health for progression to type 2 diabetes.

Ask your doctor for testing to determine if you have prediabetes if you find you are at risk for type 2 diabetes using the “are you at risk” test (ADA, 2016).  If your hemoglobin A1c (3 month blood sugar average test) is 5.7%-6.4%, you have prediabetes.

If you have prediabetes you can put measures in place to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58% by losing 7% of your body weight (that would be 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) and/or exercising moderately (such as brisk walking) 30 minutes a day, five days a week.  Set an achievable goal for weight loss and/or exercise and reset your goal after rewarding yourself for achieving your first goal!

About Kim Warlick

I am a Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist and Certified Diabetes Educator. Having been a nurse for over 35 years, my passion is to help people who want to know more about how to prevent or manage their diabetes. Diabetes Self Management Education (DSME) is 95% of diabetes control and may be a covered benefit with your insurance provider. Follow my professional website and blog to find information and links to learn more about diabetes .

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