Reducing your risk and preventing diabetes during a pandemic

9Health is all about prevention and while it is always important to take care of your overall health and pay attention to risk factors for chronic conditions, it is even more important now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of the novel coronavirus, new attention is being given to preexisting or underlying conditions. Diabetes is one of those.

In Colorado, 1 in 3 Coloradans have prediabetes, are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and may not even know it. To know your risk, it is important to be screened.

9Health typically offers a hemoglobin A1C screening at our 9Health Fairs. Your hemoglobin a1c tells you what your average blood glucose level is over a period of 3 months. The 9health Fairs are postponed this year due to COVID-19 but we are working on ways to perform our screenings at home. We will continue to provide updates.

If your hemoglobin A1C is between 5.7% and 6.4% you are classified as having prediabetes meaning you are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. If your hemoglobin A1C is above 6.5% you are considered to have diabetes.

9Health has developed free online risk assessments so you can see where you stand. Click here to learn more about our online diabetes assessment. The good news is type 2 diabetes is preventable if you know your risk and make the right lifestyle changes.

We talked with Barbara Johnson, a registered nurse and diabetes educator from the Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center, and 9Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli on Facebook Live about what diabetes is and how to reduce your risk.

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 – Diabetes during pregnancy. 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. Prediabetes is preventable and reversible, so it’s important to know your risk and take action! Click here to take our free, online risk assessment.

Diabetes Risk Factors

The following can be leading indicators for diabetes risk:

  • Family History of diabetes
  • Age, being over 45 years old
  • High blood pressure
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of exercise

Diabetes Symptoms

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

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • 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 from 9Health.

The hemoglobin A1C screening tells you what your average blood glucose level is over a period of 3 months. We usually offer this screening at our 9Health Fairs but those are postponed due to COVID-19. We are developing ways to do some of our screenings at home, we will provide updates when available. Right now you can see where you stand with our online diabetes assessment.

How can you prevent or even reverse pre-diabetes?

Health screenings are a vital component of understanding your risk for diabetes. Start with our online diabetes assessment.

 Other ways to reduce your risk:

  • Regular exercise
  • Reduce calorie intake
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Regular sleep
  • Eat a healthy diet, low in carbohydrates

In addition to diabetes, 9Health is offering online assessments for:

If you have a health question you can talk to a medical professional through our 9Health Neighbors Program by calling 303-698-4455, ext. 2005. Leave a message and a 9Health Medical Volunteer will call you back within 24 hours.

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.