Health and Family Services Cabinet
Are You At Risk for Diabetes?
Editor’s Note: During November, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will highlight different topics related to diabetes in correlation with American Diabetes Month. This is the fourth article in the series.
November is American Diabetes Month
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) encourages everyone to find out if you’re are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes – and do what it takes to prevent it.
Risk factors associated with the development of type 2 diabetes include family history, pre-diabetes, overweight/obesity, lack of physical activity, being 45 and older, history of gestational diabetes or having a baby that weighs more than 9 pounds at birth, high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, polycystic ovarian syndrome and history of vascular disease.
African-Americans, American Indians, Alaska natives, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders and Hispanics are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and are disproportionately affected by the disease, according to DPH.
“If we do not turn back this epidemic, many people will suffer with widespread disability and premature death. The nation will need to spend billions more for diabetes care,” said William D. Hacker, M.D., commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “Kentuckians need to recognize the dangers of the disease and practice preventive measures. This is the most effective means we have to curb rates of diabetes.”
According to the Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and Control Program and the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), this negative trend can be reversed by making better choices about the kinds of food we eat, the amount of exercise we get and the way we live our lives.
“Diabetes prevention is proven, possible and powerful,” said Linda Leber, education coordinator for the Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. “Big rewards can be achieved by losing 5 to 7 percent of body weight through healthy eating and getting 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week.”
According to DPH, losing even a small amount of weight can help those who are at risk prevent or delay the onset of this devastating disease. Preventing or controlling diabetes can slow or halt the loss of sight, limbs and life.
The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) provides free materials that can help get you started in preventing or controlling diabetes. NDEP’s “Small Steps. Big Rewards Prevent type 2 Diabetes” public education campaign can help increase diabetes prevention awareness. The NDEP materials offer ideas for adhering to a healthy eating plan and staying active with regular physical activity.
For those already diagnosed with diabetes, the NDEP’s “Control Your Diabetes for Life” materials teach individuals with diabetes to know their ABC’s. A is for the A1C test for blood glucose (blood sugar), B for blood pressure and C for cholesterol.
People should know what these numbers are, what they should be, and how to work with a health care team to reach their personal goals.
To order the free NDEP materials, go to www.ndep.nih.gov or call (800) 438-5383. For more information about diabetes, visit the Kentucky Diabetes Prevention and Control Program Web site at www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/ach/cd/diabetes.
*Additional audio information about Diabetes month can be accessed here http://chfs.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/B6787629-ABA0-419A-A4F2-68EE5BEFFDF6/0/DiabetesAudio112107Take1Edit1.mp3