November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and The Family YMCA is encouraging residents of Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.
New statistics for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that one in four Americans (86 million people) have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it. With awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.
“As the number of new people with prediabetes continues to rise, it is important residents of our community understand what a prediabetes diagnosis means, and options available to reverse course,” Y Wellness Director Melanie Chapman said. “Fortunately, simple lifestyle changes can greatly 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 Family YMCA has been helping to improve health by offering the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) in Espanola for the last two years. The NDPP is a free year long program based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which has shown that with lifestyle changes such as eating healthier, increasing physical activity and modest weight reduction, a person with pre-diabetic symptoms can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Sessions guide participants in ways to eat healthy while eating out, manage stress, and stay motivated after the program’s completion.
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.
A free six-week Diabetes Education and Prevention class will be held 10-10:45 a.m. Jan. 6-Feb. 10 that the Y’s Fitness Studio in White Rock, 106-A Longview (behind Smith’s). This class is free to the community. Register at The Family YMCA. Class size is limited. To learn more about this and other Y Healthy Living programs please contact The Family YMCA, 505.662.3100 or visit www.laymca.org.