Are You At Risk For Type 2 Diabetes?

Tick tock. Tick tock. Every 17 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. 

A recent news story reports diabetes cases have reached a record 382 million worldwide. And most of those people have Type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to obesity and lack of physical activity.

Type 2 diabetes , if not controlled, can lead to heart disease, stroke and blindness. As part of the National Diabetes Month, take the Diabetes Risk Test or review your risk factors for Type 2 diabetes:

  • Age. The risk increases as you get older, especially after age 45. But children are also developing Type 2 diabetes.
  • Weight.  Being overweight is a big risk factor because the more fatty tissue you have, the more your cells become resistant to insulin.
  • Family history.  Your risk increases if you have a parent or sibling with Type 2 diabetes.
  • Race.  African Americans, Hispanics or Latino Americans, American Indian, Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes. If you were developed diabetes while pregnant, you are at risk to develop Type 2 diabetes. Giving birth to a baby that weighs more than 9 pounds  also puts you at risk.
  • High blood pressure or cholesterol.  These two conditions put you at risk.
  • Exercise less than 3 times a week. Being active helps you avoid being overweight and can help your cells handle insulin better.

More than 46,000 adults in North Dakota have diabetes. In 2005, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND)launched an experimental pilot project focused on diabetes control. During this project, more members with diabetes received recommended care, and emergency room visits and hospital admissions decreased. In 2007, we added two more chronic conditions, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. In 2009, we launched the  MediQHome quality program to help North Dakotans fight chronic diseases, including diabetes.

Three ways to fight Type 2 diabetes regardless of age are to:

  • Be physically active. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day. Take a brisk walk, swim or ride a bike.
  • Eat right. Select food that is low in fat and calories.  Go for fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, you can reduce your risk by losing 5 percent to 10 percent of your weight.

Denise Pinkney is an editor/project leader in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.