This group just completed the year-long JumpStart for Health Diabetes Prevention Program at Toby Wells YMCA. We'll share more about their personal stories this month, and in January, lowe'll launch a new group through this life-changing program that is free to members.

November 2017 is National Diabetes Awareness Month!

The YMCA wants to spread the word and encourage you to know your risk for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes affects more than 29 million people, and chances are you know at least one person with diabetes and probably more than one with prediabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that causes blood-sugar levels to rise higher than normal. A condition called prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. More than 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes has no cure, but prediabetes can be reversed.

The number of Type 2 diabetes cases continues to grow, fueled in part by a continued rise in the rate of obesity. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

Diabetes Facts

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research shows that:

  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States
  • Diabetes disproportionately affects black and Latino populations (they are nearly two times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes)
  • People with diabetes are about 50 percent more likely to die than people of the same age without diabetes
  • Medical expenses for people with diabetes are 2.3 times greater than those without
  • People with diabetes are at greater risk for stroke, nerve damage, blindness, dental disease, lower limb amputation, depression, and complications during pregnancy

The Good News

While only a blood test by a health care provider can confirm prediabetes, a person’s family history, weight and high cholesterol levels are just a few of the factors that can put an individual in the high-risk category. 

If you believe you are at risk for developing diabetes, there is something you can do about it. People with prediabetes who make the kinds of basic lifestyle changes — modest weight loss, eating healthy and regular physical activity  — can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. A diabetes prevention program will focus on:

  • Healthy Eating – Eat smaller portions and reduce fat in your diet. Discovering healthier foods can help prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Increasing Physical Activity – Moderate physical activity (walking, swimming, mowing the lawn) for as little as 30 minutes, five days a week, can help improve your blood pressure, raise your good cholesterol and prevent blood flow problems.
  • Losing Weight – Reducing your body weight by as little as 5 to7 percent can offer tremendous benefits for people at risk for diabetes.

The Y Can Help

In January, Toby Wells YMCA will begin a new session of JumpStart for Health, a diabetes prevention program that is free to members. New diabetes prevention programs are planned at several branches in 2018.