By Celeste Pierini | RN, BSN Carson City Health and Human Services
This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
March 26 was Diabetes Alert Day. While it is important to protect your health every day, awareness of this damaging disease deserves your attention. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 people in the United States have prediabetes and 90% of these people are not aware of it. Could you be one of them?
Prediabetes is a health condition that can be identified by your doctor. This disease causes the sugar levels in your blood to be higher than normal and increases your risk for other problems. When blood sugar is regularly high, this causes serious problems with the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels in the eyes, fingers and toes. Over time, the body may lose its ability to make enough insulin, which is a hormone that helps control your blood sugar. If this occurs, you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can lead to heart failure, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, depression, and loss of blood flow in fingers and toes, which may lead to amputation. Unfortunately, there are no clear signs for prediabetes, which is why it is very important to know the risk factors related to prediabetes and diabetes.
Risk factors for developing prediabetes include:
- Being 45 years of age or older
- Exercising less than 3 times per week
- Having a history of gestational diabetes
- Having a family history of type 2 diabetes
- Being overweight
If present, symptoms of prediabetes and diabetes include: excessive thirst; excessive hunger; frequent urination; blurry vision; and tingling in the fingers and toes.
The good news? Prediabetes can be reversed! By losing weight and increasing your exercise up to 30 minutes 5 days a week, you decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58%. If you are concerned about your risk for prediabetes, an important first step is to take a Diabetes Risk Test. You can find this risk test by going to the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) website at diabetes.org, and click on the “Are You at Risk?” tab. This will lead you to the test. If your test results indicate you may be at risk for prediabetes, take the completed form to your doctor and they can assist you in creating a plan to lower your risk.
Carson City Health and Human Services encourages you to take an active role in your health and take the Diabetes Risk Test! For additional resources and information about Department programs and services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cchhs, call us at (775) 887-2190, or visit us at 900 East Long Street in Carson City.