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World Diabetes Day: Know Your Risk, Get Tested & Prevention

About 1 in 10 adults have diabetes worldwide, and over 90% have type 2 diabetes. But, about half are not yet diagnosed. It is estimated that about 212 million people, or half of all adults currently living with diabetes, are undiagnosed.

The good news is that in many cases, type 2 diabetes and its complications can be delayed or prevented by adopting and maintaining healthy habits.

World Diabetes Day encourages people to know their risks and what to do to support prevention, early diagnosis, and timely treatment.

Type 2 Diabetes Risks:

  • Have prediabetes.
  • Are overweight.
  • Are 45 years or older.
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
  • Are physically active less than three times a week.
  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed over 9 pounds.
  • Are an African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native person. Some Pacific Islanders and Asian American people are also at higher risk.

You can know your risk of Type 2 Diabetes by taking a quick online assessment developed by the International Diabetes Federation.

The assessment aims to predict an individual’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the next ten years and is based on the Finnish Diabetes Risk Score (FINDRISC).

Testing for Diabetes

You can get your blood sugar tested to find if you have prediabetes or type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. Testing is simple, and results are usually available quickly.

Testing options include A1C Test, which measures your average blood sugar level over the past 2 or 3 months; Fasting Blood Sugar Test; which measures your blood sugar after an overnight; a Glucose Tolerance Test, which measures your blood sugar before and after you drink a liquid that contains glucose; and Random Blood Sugar Test, which measures your blood sugar at the time you’re tested.

Preventing Diabetes

Prevention is important because type 2 diabetes is a serious, chronic health condition that can lead to other serious health issues such as heart disease and stroke. If you can prevent getting type 2 diabetes, you can lower your risk for other chronic health conditions.

Suggested diabetes prevention strategies include: losing extra weight, eating healthy foods that are low in sugar and refined carbohydrates, stop smoking/tobacco use, and regular movement and exercise.

Buncombe County Health and Human Services has partnered with YMCA of Western North Carolina to offer two diabetes programs which include in-person and virtual classes in English and Spanish at no cost.

Diabetes Prevention Program – The program helps those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes through a small, supportive group that walks participants through adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyles. The year-long program includes 16 one-hour, weekly sessions. Participants are encouraged to eat healthier, increase physical activity, and lose weight all with the goal of reducing their diabetes risk. To learn more, call 828-251-5910.

Minority Diabetes Prevention Program - The program is available to qualifying participants and includes a 6-month YMCA household membership. The Y and Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA) offer the program at multiple locations and times in Buncombe, Henderson, and McDowell counties. Participants get a personal lifestyle coach to facilitate a CDC-approved virtual diabetes prevention curriculum. For more information on the minority program, call 828-251-5910.

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Updated Nov 14, 2023 10:48 AM
Published Nov 14, 2023 10:40 AM

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