Health Topic of the Month November 2016

risk for diabetesAre You at Risk for Diabetes?

Did you know that there’s a stage before diabetes sets in? It’s called pre-diabetes. It is a condition where your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, yet not high enough to be considered diabetic. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) one in three people have pre-diabetes and 9 out of 10 don’t know they have it. The good news is that if you are one of those millions of people, just because you have pre-diabetes doesn’t mean you’re doomed to develop full-on type 2 diabetes.

How to Find Out if You’re Pre-Diabetic

Pre-diabetes has no symptoms, but you can find out with a simple blood test at a 9Health Fair near you.  Our Hemoglobin A1c Diabetes Screening measures your average blood sugar control for the past two to three months.

Get Local Help with the Diabetes Prevention Program

If the Hemoglobin A1c Diabetes Screening comes back indicating that you are in pre-diabetic range, the good news is you can find help. Here in Denver, the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program has partnered with 9Health Fair to help participants reverse course and prevent their condition from actually developing into type 2 diabetes.

The YMCA DPP program starts with 16 weekly classes. There, you’ll learn about healthy activities and recipes to help you bring your sugar levels down. Then the classes move to once a month for the rest of the year where you will come back for maintenance checkups. Classes will be a major commitment, but past participants will tell you it’s worth it when you see all your hard work paying off.

Normally this program would cost participants over $400. However, thanks to a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDHPE) it can be at no cost.

Common Symptoms of Diabetes

If there are no symptoms to indicate that you are pre-diabetic, are there symptoms to let you know that you may already be diabetic? The answer, according to the American Diabetes Association, is yes. Although they do note that sometimes these symptoms are so mild they go unnoticed:

  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Cuts/bruises that take a long time to heal
  • Tingling/numbness in feet and/or hands

Know the Risks

If you develop diabetes and continue without managing the disease, there are several complications that can arise. The Mayo Clinic says many complications from diabetes can be life-threatening. Here are some of the complications you might experience if you don’t treat diabetes:

  • Nerve damage – which if left untreated could cause you to lose all sense of feeling in the affect limb or limbs.
  • Eye damage – diabetes increases the risk for a variety of serious vision problems such as glaucoma.
  • Skin conditions – look out for fungal infections!
  • Alzheimer’s disease – it appears that the worse your blood sugar control is, the higher the risk for Alzheimer’s.

Remember, it’s a lot easier and a lot less costly to prevent yourself from developing diabetes than it is to have diabetes.