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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Feature:
Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes Type 2 Is Serious But Manageable

Am I at Risk?

If you have wondered or possibly been told that you are at risk for developing diabetes or that you have prediabetes, you should know that diabetes prevention is proven, possible, and powerful. Studies show that people at high risk for diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their weight, if they are overweight—that's 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person.

Two keys to success:

1Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week.

2Eat a variety of foods that are low in fat and reduce the number of calories you eat per day.

In other words, you don't have to knock yourself out to prevent diabetes. The key is: small steps that lead to big rewards. Learn more about your risk for developing type 2 diabetes and the small steps you can take to delay or prevent the disease and live a long, healthy life.


Gestational
Diabetes

If you had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, you and your child have a lifelong risk for getting diabetes.
Family Health History Family health history is an important risk factor for developing a number of serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes. In fact, most people with type 2 diabetes have a family member—such as a mother, father, brother, or sister—with the disease.
Take Small Steps to Prevent Diabetes
When you take steps to prevent diabetes, you will also lower your risk for possible complications of diabetes such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, and other health problems. That's a big reward for you and your family and friends.
Diabetes HealthSense
Find tools and programs that can help you with making lifestyle and behavior changes. Diabetes HealthSense also includes research articles on lifestyle changes and behavioral strategies. http://ndep.nih.gov/resources/diabetes-healthsense/

Diabetes Risk Factors

There are many factors that increase your risk for diabetes. To find out about your risk, note each item on this list that applies to you.

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, a serious disease in which blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are above normal. Most people with diabetes have type 2, which used to be called adult-onset diabetes. At one time, type 2 diabetes was more common in people over age 45. But now more young people, even children, have the disease because many are overweight or obese.

  • I am 45 years of age or older.
  • The At-Risk Weight Chart shows my current weight puts me at risk.
    http://ndep.nih.gov/am-i-at-risk/DiabetesRiskFactors.aspx#weightcharts
  • I have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
  • My family background is African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
  • I have had diabetes while I was pregnant (this is called gestational diabetes) or I gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.
  • I have been told that my blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than normal.
  • My blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, or I have been told that I have high blood pressure.
  • My cholesterol (lipid) levels are not normal. My HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol) is less than 35 or my triglyceride level is higher than 250.
  • I am fairly inactive. I am physically active less than three times a week.
  • I have been told that I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • The skin around my neck or in my armpits appears dirty no matter how much I scrub it. The skin appears dark, thick and velvety. This is called acanthosis nigricans.
  • I have been told that I have blood vessel problems affecting my heart, brain, or legs.
  • If you have any of the items above, be sure to talk with your health care team about your risk for diabetes and whether you should be tested. Diabetes is preventable.

Fall 2014 Issue: Volume 9 Number 3 Page 12-13