What is Prediabetes?

141381_Diabetes Infographics Rev2013-rgb-FNLDiabetes is a condition in which the body cannot properly regulate blood sugar levels.  Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children or young adults and is caused by  low production of insulin, which is needed to convert sugar to energy.  Insulin therapy provides the means for those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes to live happy and healthy lives.  Type 2 diabetes is caused by prolonged high sugar levels in the blood.  The body either cannot manufacture enough insulin to regulate the blood sugar levels, or the cells become “insulin resistant”.  Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health issues such as heart attack, kidney failure, stroke and blindness.  Prediabetes occurs when the blood sugar levels are higher than normal (fasting glucose 100-125 mg/dl), but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes (fasting glucose level over 125 mg/dl). Prediabetes may be reversed with lifestyle changes.  Diabetes has no cure.

It is estimated that in York County, 31 percent of the residents already have prediabetes, and only 11 percent are aware of their risk for developing diabetes.  Research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has shown that lifestyle changes can drastically reduce the chance of developing diabetes.  By reducing body weight 7 percent and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week, those with prediabetes can greatly reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a focused effort to decrease the incidence of diabetes in the United States.  The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program and is nationally supported by the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA), the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA).  The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program is a one-year community-based lifestyle improvement program for adults with prediabetes. Its purpose is to empower adults with lasting lifestyle changes that will improve their overall health and reduce their chance of developing type 2 diabetes.  A trained lifestyle coach facilitates discussion about healthy eating, physical activity and other behavior changes over a 12-month period, beginning with 16 weekly one-hour sessions followed by eight monthly maintenance sessions.  This program is offered locally through the YMCA of York and York County.

Are you at risk for developing diabetes? Take the online American Diabetes Association Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment or download the YMCA Diabetes Risk Assessment form. Talk to your medical provider about your risks, how you can reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

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