SHERIDAN — Tuesday is American Diabetes Association Alert Day and area health officials want residents of Sheridan County to know their risk for diabetes and preventive steps they can take to reduce the chances of developing the disease.
In the U.S. alone, diabetes affects nearly 29 million people and another 86 million Americans have prediabetes, yet only about 10 percent are aware of it.
Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
Often a preventable condition, people with prediabetes can reduce their risk for developing Type 2 diabetes by adopting behavior changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity. People with prediabetes are at risk for not only developing Type 2 diabetes, but also cardiovascular disease, stroke and other conditions.
Those interested in learning their risk type can do so at www.ymca.net/diabetes. Several factors that could put a person at risk for Type 2 diabetes include family history, age, weight and activity level, among others.
Some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and an increased focus on healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes.
The lifestyle changes include:
• Reducing portion sizes of the foods you eat that are high in fat or calories.
• Keeping a food diary to increase awareness of eating patterns and behaviors.
• Being moderately active at least 30 minutes per day for five days a week.
• Choosing water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
• Incorporating more activity in your day, like taking the stairs or parking farther away from your destination.
• Speaking to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history of the disease or are overweight.
To learn more about programs and services available in our community that help residents address their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, call the Sheridan County YMCA, the Senior Center or Sheridan Memorial Hospital.