Let’s talk diabetes and prediabetes around the world — the main goals of World Health Day 2016. According to the World Health Organization, the number of diabetes cases is rapidly increasing in many countries. They estimate that 350 million people have diabetes now (with that number expected to double by 2036), and that the disease was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths in 2012.
One of the most important things you can do this World Health Day is become aware of the problem. Of the estimated 29 million Americans who have diabetes, approximately 8.1 million — one in four — don’t know they have it. And, of the staggering 86 million Americans — one out of every three adults in our country — who has prediabetes, 90 percent of them don’t know they have it.
Today is the time to turn those numbers around! Start by discussing diabetes and prediabetes with your friends, families and health-care providers.
The Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
Knowledge is power so share information about diabetes and prediabetes with your friends and family. Take the American Diabetes Association’s Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test and become familiar with the risk factors of Type 2 diabetes.
- Physical inactivity
- Family history of diabetes
- Certain ethnicities such as African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander
- Being a women who delivered a baby weighing more than 9 pounds or having gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Low levels of HDL cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides
- Previous abnormal blood sugar measurement
- History of cardiovascular disease
- Acanthosis nigricans (a skin condition characterized by dark, velvety skin in the folds and creases of the body, typically the armpits, neck and groin)
4 Ways to Overturn Prediabetes
Prediabetes is not “pre-problem.” Rather, it is a sign of a long-term insulin resistance. Explain that, even though prediabetes is concerning, there are ways to halt the progression to Type 2 diabetes. It does not require anything magical or even heroic. Instead, good health habits and moderate weight loss are the keys to preventing prediabetes from becoming Type 2 diabetes.
- Be physically active most days of the week.
- Eat wholesome, nutrient-dense foods in reasonable quantities — look to the USDA’s MyPlate for guidance.
- Cut back on added sugars, saturated fats and overly processed, low-nutrient foods.
- Work with a registered dietitian nutritionist to create an individualized plan and set personalized behavioral goals.
Should you or someone you care about receive a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, work with a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator to learn about the disease, lead a healthful lifestyle and manage blood sugar, cholesterol levels and blood pressure.