Diabetes Awareness Month – Diabetes Prevention

In Colorado, 1 in 3 Coloradans have prediabetes are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. It’s American Diabetes Awareness Month and we talked with Dr. Michael McDermott, the Director of endocrinology and diabetes practice at   UC Health (University of Colorado Hospital) about how to prevent diabetes.  Click here to watch the full episode.

What Is Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes

This occurs when the body’s immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. So, the individuals who have this are unable to make insulin and they must take doses of insulin in order to manage their glucose levels. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are approximately 30 million Americans living with diabetes in the United States. Of the 30 million people who have diabetes, about 5-10% of this population has Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

The most common form of diabetes and occurs when your body is unable to process insulin properly. In some cases, many can control blood sugar levels with healthy eating and exercise, but others may need to use medication to manage it.

Gestational Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, this is a form of diabetes that happens to millions of women. It can occur if the mother is unable to properly use insulin or they are unable to make or use the insulin necessary for the pregnancy.

Prediabetes

This occurs when an individual has elevated blood sugar levels, but not they are not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes is preventable and reversible, so it’s important to know your risk and take action!

Diabetes Risk Factors

Dr. McDermott mentioned that there are a few factors that may increase your risk of diabetes.  The following can be leading indicators for diabetes risk:

  • Family History
  • Obesity
  • Unhealthy Eating
  • Lack of Exercise

What are the symptoms to watch out for?

Many individuals who have diabetes, have not been diagnosed, but there are some symptoms to watch for, such as:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Urination
  • Blurred vision

Although people may exhibit some of these signs, many do not show symptoms, which is why it is important to get screenings like the affordable hemoglobin a1c  and blood chemistry screenings at a 9Health Fair. The hemoglobin a1c screening tells you what your average blood glucose level is over a period of 3 months.

What are some ways to prevent or can you even reverse pre-diabetes?

Health screenings are a vital component of understanding your risk for diabetes. Knowing where you stand is the first step to making changes to prevent or even reverse pre-diabetes.

The fall 9Health Fair season is coming to a close, so there are only a few more opportunities to take advantage of these important screenings. Visit www.9healthfair.org/findafair to find a 9Health Fair in your neighborhood.

9Health is a 501c-3 community non-profit empowering people to put health in their own hands by providing tools such as preventive health screenings, evidence-based, objective health education and eTools and resources for every day in your health journey.