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Understanding Your Diabetes Risk

A quick Google search about how prevalent Diabetes is in our country reveals some alarming staistics. According to Healthline.com:

  • research suggests that 1 out of 3 adults has prediabetes. Of this group, 9 out of 10 don’t know they have it.
  • 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, but 8.1 million may be undiagnosed and unaware of their condition.
  • About 1.4 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in United States every year.
  • More than one in every 10 adults who are 20 years or older has diabetes. For seniors (65 years and older), that figure rises to more than one in four.
  • Cases of diagnosed diabetes cost the United States an estimated $245 billionTrusted Source in 2012. This cost is expected to rise with the increasing diagnoses.

There are both non-modifiable (beyond your control) and modifiable (controllable) risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Non-modifiable risk factors include:

  • Age: The older you are, the greater your risk for developing diabetes (usually diagnosed after 45).
  • Race: Those of African-American, Asian-American, Latino, Native American or Pacific Islander are more at risk than Caucasians.
  • Family history: If you have blood relatives with diabetes, your risk is significantly higher.

Modifiable risk factors include:

  • Being overweight: Dropping 5-7% of your total body weight (13 pounds for a 250-pound person) halves your risk of prediabetes.
  • Inactivity: Get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity; 75 minutes of more vigorous exercise; or a combination of the two with strengthening activities at least twice a week.
  • Abnormal cholesterol: A healthy diet and weight, as well as proper physical activity levels, can help you regulate both your HDL (“good”) and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure: This common condition can damage the cardiovascular system and if left untreated, can increase the risk of diabetes.

The number of American adults with diabetes has tripled in the last two decades due to an aging, more obese population. It’s important to do as much as you can to prevent or treat diabetes, as it affects many organs and can lead to serious health issues including:

  • Cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke
  • Renal disease
  • Vision damage
  • Nerve damage that can lead to amputation

If you are not sure whether you are diabetic, be sure to discuss this with your physician during your next appointment.

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