October 28, 2020
November is observed as American Diabetes Month. This is an opportunity to share information about diabetes, making people aware of what it is and why it is important to manage diabetes when diagnosed or even prevent it.34.
What is diabetes? Simply put, it is a condition that causes the levels of glucose (blood sugar) in your blood to get too high. Over time, your organs cannot function properly due to the high levels of glucose. It just cannot keep up with the demand and then you begin to experience health problems. If diabetes is not diagnosed or properly managed, people with diabetes are at an increased risk for other serious health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, amputation and blindness. Unaddressed, diabetes takes a heavy toll medically, financially and individually.
One in three American adults has prediabetes, but only 10 percent know they have it. Prediabetes is when blood glucose (sugar) level are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes can be viewed as a warning sign from your body to make some lifestyle changes before your health worsens.
Risks include: having a family history of diabetes, being over age 40, being overweight, having a history of gestational diabetes, being inactive and having high blood pressure. Some of these risks can be managed, like physical activity and weight, to help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Other risks, like age and family history, you have no control over. This is why it is important to manage those risks you can control.
There are not usually symptoms when you have prediabetes but a simple blood test can confirm if you have prediabetes. Before talking to your healthcare provider about a blood test, a quick and easy risk test is available at https://www.diabetes.org/risk-test. It takes less than one minute and provides an instant score (look for small print “View Your Results Online”) of how low or high your risk is and additional information to connect you to resources that are available.
If you do find out you have prediabetes, the good news is that prediabetes can often be reversed by making lifestyle changes. If you do not make any changes, prediabetes can develop into type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Losing 5-7 percent of your body weight, can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Learning about which foods are better choices than others is a good start. Many resources about reversing or preventing diabetes are available at diabetes.org, attending a prevention program or by calling the Chouteau County Extension Office.
The sooner you start making changes, the better chance you have of preventing type 2 diabetes. Keep in the mind, the changes can happen slowly—ease them into your life until they feel normal. This will help the changes become permanent and fit into your life.
To learn more, contact Janell at the Chouteau County Extension Office at 622-3036, firstname.lastname@example.org or in the green building next to the Chouteau County Courthouse at 1308 Franklin St in Fort Benton.
Follow us on Facebook @ChouteauCountyExtension to keep up to date on what is happening in Chouteau County Extension and 4-H.
Montana State University, US Department of Agriculture and Montana Counties Cooperating. MSU Extension is an equal opportunity/affirmative action provider of educational outreach.