Why Knowing Your Diabetes Risk Matters
In the United States alone, more than 100 million adults are living with diabetes or prediabetes.1 Of the 30 million with diabetes, 1 in 4 don’t realize they have the disease.2
Diabetes is a disease that affects the whole body, and every individual requires unique care.3 Although there currently isn’t a cure, it is a very treatable disease. Armed with the correct information and resources, people with diabetes can live long, happy, and healthy lives. At higi, we aim to make it easier for you to be your healthiest by providing you with those resources.
If you have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes, knowing your blood pressure, weight, and body mass index (BMI) is helpful in managing, or preventing, diabetes. Visit your local higi health station to keep track of those numbers.
Understanding Your Diabetes Risk
Managing diabetes requires regular monitoring of your glucose level. Not keeping blood glucose in a healthy range can lead to severe health complications, including eye and nerve damage, stroke, or heart attack.4
Because diabetes is such a common disease, making sure to keep an eye on your risk can potentially save your life. Unfortunately, there’s no way to measure your risk of getting Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 is much less common than Type 2—about 5% of people with diabetes have type 1.5 Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes, but it can be managed by:
- Following your doctor’s recommendations for living a healthy lifestyle
- Controlling your blood sugar
- Getting regular health checkups
- Getting diabetes self-management education
Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
If you took the Stand Up To Diabetes risk assessment, you’re probably curious to learn why we asked the questions we did. Each of those questions has direct relevance to your risk for Type 2 diabetes. Learn more below:
– Your age: You are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older.6
– Your gender: While gender is only a small component of your overall diabetes risk, there are differences in how diabetes affects men and women. Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease (the most common diabetes complication) by about four times in women but only about two times in men. Women are also at higher risk of other diabetes-related complications such as blindness, kidney disease, and depression.7
– Whether you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy: Any woman can get gestational diabetes during pregnancy, and it usually goes away once the baby is born. However, about 50% of women who have had gestational diabetes go on to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.8
– Your physical activity: If you don’t exercise or exercise very little, you’re more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. To prevent it, you should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. Start slowly to build up to your goal.9
– Your weight: Being overweight (BMI of 25-29.9), or affected by obesity (BMI of 30-39.9) or severe obesity (BMI of 40 or greater), greatly increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.10
– Your race or ethnicity. Some groups of people are affected more severely by diabetes than other groups. These communities include:
- African Americans
- Asian Americans
- Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
- American Indian/Alaskan Natives.
In addition, racial and ethnic minority populations have a higher risk of complications of diabetes, such as lower limb amputations, retinopathy and kidney failure, than non-Hispanic Whites.11
Lowering your risk for diabetes and its complications
If you have diabetes, it’s important to keep your numbers on target to lower your chances of heart disease and other related health complications. To help keep your numbers at your target range, follow the ABCs for diabetes guidelines below:12
Talk to your healthcare provider about what goals are best for you when reviewing your ABCs.
If you don’t have diabetes, it’s still wise to watch what you eat, stay physically active, and continue to educate yourself on diabetes so that you can lower your risk and help others lower their risk as well.
Take the first step in managing your health by visiting a higi station today to check your blood pressure, weight, and BMI. These are all important numbers to understand when evaluating and taking control of your overall health.