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Finding the 90,000 Yoopers at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes: Testing, prevention resources and information are available

MARQUETTE — If you knew you could make lifestyle changes to prevent or delay getting a very serious and expensive medical condition, would you do it? An estimated 100,000 Yoopers live with prediabetes – 1 out of 3 adults and 50% of seniors – and 90%, or 90,000, don’t even know it. Prediabetes is the stage before diabetes; it is also the time that people can make life changes to stop diabetes.

First off, how do you know if you are one of the three adults or one of the two seniors who may be living with prediabetes and not know it?

You can take the simple online prediabetes risk test at http://nmu.edu/ruralhealth/diabetes. The test asks about family history of diabetes, whether or not you have high blood pressure, how much you weigh and how active you are.

It will also ask you about your family heritage, and, if a woman, whether or not you have ever had gestational diabetes. Based on your answers, the test will tell you if you are at high risk of living with prediabetes and on your way to developing diabetes.

If you score as “high risk,” the next step is to talk with your health care provider about getting a fasting – not eating or drinking anything but water for 8 to 12 hours – blood sugar test at a lab as a finger poke test can’t be used. You may need a second test if your blood sugar is high.

Prediabetes is when your fasting blood sugars are 100 to 125 mg/dL. If you are in that range, weight loss and being active are the best ‘medicines’ to lower your blood sugars. Studies have shown us that those two things – weight loss and physical activity – can lower your risk of moving from prediabetes to diabetes by 58% or 72% if you are a senior.

There are Yoopers who knew that they had prediabetes and did not take action and went on to develop type 2 diabetes. One of them told her diabetes care and education specialist: “I wish I would have taken having prediabetes more seriously.”

During November, Diabetes Awareness Month, take action to prevent diabetes.

≤ Go to http://nmu.edu/ruralhealth/diabetes and take the Prediabetes Risk Test.

≤ Get a fasting blood test, if you score ‘high risk’ on the Risk Test.

≤ Take action to lose weight and be active to prevent type 2 diabetes if your blood sugars are 100 to 125 mg/dL.

Diabetes prevention studies also show that a 5% to 7% weight loss – that’s 10 to 14 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds – and 150 minutes a week of physical activity are what you should aim for to prevent – or delay – getting diabetes. Many people need help with making changes to lose weight and keep it off.

Here are some options:

≤ Diabetes prevention weight loss programs: Currently there are no in-person classes, but Michigan State University Extension offers some via Zoom. Noom, Fruit Street and Hope 80/20 are other online options that cost around $20 to $30 per month.

≤ Meet with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist: Most hospitals and some clinics have RDNs.

≤ Join a weight loss program like Weight Watchers or Tops.

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