November is National Diabetes Month. The following blog post was written by Heather Myers, a Community Health Coordinator with Summit Health
Diabetes lives here- across the nation, throughout the state of Pennsylvania, and in the local Franklin County community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 30 million people across the nation have diabetes and another 84 million adults have prediabetes; a condition in which blood sugar is elevated but not yet high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. The Healthy Franklin County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) further indicates that 10% of males and almost 9% of females in Franklin County have been diagnosed with diabetes.
What may be more startling is these numbers are projected to increase. The CDC estimates that without weight loss and increased physical activity, 15-30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. A February 2017 article from Population Health Management journal found that the prevalence of total diabetes is projected to grow 54% between 2015 and 2030.
Specific risk factors make a person at an increased risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. They include:
- Weight. Being overweight or obese increases risk because the more fatty tissue a person has, the more resistant cells become to insulin.
- Lack of physical activity. Risk increases the less regular activity a person gets. Physical activity supports weight management and empowers the body to utilize blood sugar properly.
- Race and family history. It is unclear exactly why, but research has found that being African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/ Latino heritage increases risk.
- High blood pressure. Having high blood press (140/90 mm Hg or higher) and abnormally low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), otherwise known as “good” cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels all increase type 2 diabetes risk.
If you’re concerned about your risk for type 2 diabetes, visit https://www.summithealth.org/DiabetesLivesHere. Here, you can take an interactive test to learn more about your risk for prediabetes, find free community programs that can support you in developing a healthier lifestyle, and read more about prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
One of the best things you can do if you are concerned is talk to your primary care doctor! He or she can help you develop a plan. Type 2 diabetes can be managed or prevented by learning how to eat a balanced diet, increasing physical activity, and reaching a healthy weight.
Understand your risk and take a step towards prevention today!
Rowley, W. R., Bezold, C., Arikan, Y., Byrne, E., & Krohe, S. (2017). Diabetes 2030: Insights from Yesterday, Today, and Future Trends. Population Health Management, 20(1), 6–12. http://doi.org/10.1089/pop.2015.0181