November is National Diabetes Month

Are you aware of the risk factors that might indicate you have diabetes?

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death and when left uncontrolled it can lead to many serious side effects, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, going blind and nerve damage.

According to the National Diabetes Fact Sheet, almost 26 million people in the United States have diabetes. That would be almost nine percent of Americans. With that, the rate in Michigan is even higher. About 11 percent of Michigan adults have diabetes – that amounts to over 700,000 people in the state. The statistics for pre-diabetes are higher yet. In the United States 79 million adults are estimated to have pre-diabetes. In Michigan it is close to 365,000 individuals. Are you among those numbers?

So what can you do? Start by taking the diabetes risk test. If you score in the high risk category, share the results with your health care provider and make an appointment to get tested. According to the American Diabetes Association, some of the factors that may indicate you have diabetes include:

  • Having pre-diabetes.
  • Being age 45 or older.
  • Having a family history of diabetes.
  • Being overweight.
  • Not exercising regularly.
  • Having high blood pressure.
  • Having low HDL, also known as “good” cholesterol and/or high levels of triglycerides
  • Certain racial and ethnic groups (Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Alaska Natives).
  • Women who had gestational diabetes, or who gave birth to a baby weighing nine pounds or more at birth.

If you have even one of these risk factors or score slightly lower on the diabetes risk test, you may have pre-diabetes. Your health care provider can diagnose this condition after reviewing certain blood tests. If you should be diagnosed with pre-diabetes, don’t despair. Michigan State University Extension participates in the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Contact your local MSU Extension office or check out MSU Extension events for a diabetes prevention program in your area.

Don‘t let November go by before you know your risks. Diabetes doesn’t have to be scary. With proper lifestyle changes and treatment you can lead a healthy life.

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