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Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Category: Patient Stories
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Small changes, significant results

According to the National Institutes of Health, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States, as well as a major cause of heart disease and stroke. In addition to the 23.6 million people who already have diabetes, another 57 million have pre-diabetes. Defined as having higher-than-normal blood glucose levels, pre-diabetes greatly increases the risk of developing full-blown type 2 diabetes.

Genetics and lifestyle

Although diabetes can affect people of all ages and races, some groups are at greater risk, including African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, older adults and people with a family history of diabetes. "When it comes to lifestyle factors, diabetes is an equal opportunity disease," says Stacy Colich, Aspirus St. Luke's clinical dietitian and diabetes educator. "Being overweight or physically inactive, or having high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, will also increase your risk."

Excellent return on investment

"The good news is that even small lifestyle changes can help improve your overall health," says Colich. According to the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) study, people with pre-diabetes can often prevent their condition from progressing through weight control and regular exercise. Even losing as few as 10 to 15 pounds and walking 30 minutes per day can reduce your risk of diabetes by 50 percent.

If you have one or more risk factors for type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor about getting tested for diabetes or pre-diabetes. With the help of a certified diabetes educator, you can lower your risk, improve your health and enjoy a better quality of life for the long term.

To learn more, call Aspirus St. Luke's Diabetes Care at 218.249.5231.