by Val Chessin, RN, BSN, CDE

Diabetes Awareness Month

About 30 million people in the United States now have type 2 diabetes, which can lead to serious health problems, like stroke, heart disease, vision loss, kidney disease and nerve damage.

Many people do not find out they have diabetes until they discover problems such as blurry vision or heart trouble. That’s why it is important to know your risk.

Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they usually have "prediabetes." This means their blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. People with prediabetes are more likely to develop diabetes within 10 years and they are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. An estimated 86 million Americans over age 20 have prediabetes.

Studies show that if you are at high risk for developing diabetes, you can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by making small lifestyle changes.

  • Lose 5 to 7% of your body weight, if you are overweight (if you weigh 200 pounds, that’s 10 to 14 pounds)
  • Get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity five days a week
  • Eat a diet rich in whole foods, increasing plant foods and reducing calories.

The American Diabetes Association has developed an easy and quick risk test to determine if you are at risk for diabetes. Use the results to talk with your doctor.

At EIRMC, we offer prediabetes classes taught by a Registered Dietitian/Certified Diabetes Educator. Our classes help you understand your diagnosis and assist you in making lifestyle changes necessary to improve your overall wellbeing and prevent diabetes.

To learn more about our diabetes program at EIRMC, call (208) 529-6700.