Rates of prediabetes rise, few know they are at risk

BURLINGTON— One in four Americans (86 million people) have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), though only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it. But with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.
The Greater Burlington YMCA is urging Vermonters to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.
Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Diabetes is a serious health condition that can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, high blood pressure and blindness. The good news is that prediabetes is a potentially reversible condition, staving off the often devastating impacts of diabetes.
“The number of new people with prediabetes continues to rise and with that the importance of helping people understand what a prediabetes diagnosis means,” said Kristin Magnant, Community Health Initiatives Coordinator for the Greater Burlington YMCA. “Type 2 diabetes affects not just the person but entire families as well, but the good news is that it is possible to reverse course — simple lifestyle changes reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the Y can help people make the necessary changes to improve health.”
Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at YMCA.net/diabetes. Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.
The Greater Burlington YMCA is helping address the growing rate of prediabetes through its YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program. This program, which is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program, is designed to help those at high risk adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles and reduce their chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program classes are offered statewide and free of charge to qualified participants, thanks to a partnership with the Department of Vermont Health Access and its Vermont Blueprint for Health initiative. The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program (YDPP) is one of six health self-management programs within the Blueprint for Health. On behalf of the state of Vermont, the Y oversees successful delivery of these programs, including the YDPP classes and a Diabetes Management program for those who are living with the disease.
Because diabetes prevention is something that can be addressed through personal actions, the Y is using National Diabetes Awareness Month to help educate the public. Making some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:
Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
Aim for whole grains with every meal.
Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight.
To learn more about the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program and the Diabetes Management Program, contact Kristin Magnant at 802-652-8196 or [email protected], or go to www.myhealthyvt.org to identify where classes are held in your area.

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