Are You at Risk for Diabetes? Three Important Changes to Lower Your Risk for Diabetes


Author – Carrie Durward PhD, RD


Did you know that 90 percent of people with prediabetes don’t know they are at risk? More than 79 million Americans (about 1 out of 3 adults) have prediabetes. Prediabetes occurs when someone has blood glucose levels that are above normal, but not high enough to be diabetes. Prediabetes increases the risk for developing diabetes, and up to 70 percent of people with prediabetes will develop full-blown type 2 diabetes. Read on to learn how to tell if you are at risk and three important ways to lower your risk.

Diabetes has very serious complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, nerve damage, eye disease, foot damage and hearing loss. If left untreated, these complications can lead to kidney failure, blindness and amputations.

However, diabetes can be delayed or prevented! The first step is to see if you are at risk. The American Diabetes Association has developed an online survey to see if you are at elevated risk. Take this survey and talk to you doctor about the results.

What if you are at risk? There are three main things you can do to delay or prevent diabetes:

  1. Lose weight. Although staying at a healthy weight can help to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, you don’t have to lose a lot of weight to see improvements. Losing even 7-10 percent of your current body weight can improve your risk significantly.
  2. Eat Healthy. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables, choose whole grains at least half the time and choose lean meat and dairy options. Try to eat less regular soda, sweets, chips and other snack foods—this will help you save money too! To learn more about how to eat healthier, visit these two websites:
    Choose My Plate
  3. Be Active. You don’t have to be an exercise fanatic. Some activity is better than none. A good place to start is to try 30 minutes a day five or more days a week. You can even do the 30 minutes in 10-minute segments.

To learn more about prediabetes and how diabetes is diagnosed visit here.

carrie-durwardCarrie Durward, PhD, RD, is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Extension Nutrition Specialist at Utah State University. Carrie is a Registered Dietitian and holds her doctorate in Nutritional Sciences from Pennsylvania State University and her Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition from Arizona State University. Carrie has expertise in obesity and health, weight loss and nutrition behavior change. Her research interests include promotion of vegetable intake and weight bias prevention. When she isn’t working, Carrie loves to garden, spend time outdoors and cook and eat delicious food.

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