Diabetes doesn’t discriminate. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a new public education campaign targeting the 86 million American adults with what’s known as prediabetes.
More than one in three adults in the United States has prediabetes, a serious health condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. If you have prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as full-blown diabetes.
“Awareness is crucial in the effort to stop type 2 diabetes,” said David Marrero, director of the Diabetes Translation Research Center at Indiana University School of Medicine, when the campaign kicked off.
To learn your risk, take this short online test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org.
“This is a very simple and quick tool that will allow people to see if they are at risk for prediabetes or diabetes,” said Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis, M.D., an endocrinologist at Cleveland Clinic. “If they are at higher risk, this will hopefully prompt them to seek medical attention sooner.”
Most people with prediabetes don’t know they have it. Left untreated, up to 30% of those with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years, according to the CDC. “One of the problems with prediabetes and diabetes is that people sometimes don’t feel sick until it’s too late,” Dr. Vouyiouklis Kellis said.
Simple lifestyle changes—diet and exercise—can prevent diabetes.
“Losing 5% to 7% of body weight can significantly reduce your risk, as well as making lifestyle changes, which include portion control, reducing foods with refined sugars and exercising regularly,” Dr. Vouyiouklis Kellis said. “Exercising just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can also help reduce this risk.”
The CDC, the American Diabetes Association and the American Medical Association (AMA) joined forces to launch the campaign, because prediabetes is considered one of the biggest public health crises in this country.
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Tune in to Black Enterprise’s Your Diabetes Self-Care Package series as we celebrate health and wellness this National Diabetes Awareness Month.