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Understand Your Diabetes

If you’re concerned about diabetes, you’re not alone. Nearly 24 million Americans (almost 8 percent of the population) have diabetes. That puts them at serious risk for heart disease, limb amputation, blindness and other life-changing consequences.

But, statistics by themselves can be discouraging. The reality is that managing the disease brings greater freedom and better living. And, it’s never too late to start. Count on us for help, information and inspiration. We offer resources online and in person to help you manage diabetes and enjoy life.

Watch our videos to hear from our diabetes educators about risk factors, symptoms and tips for staying healthy. Review the information below and give us a call at 342-4709 if you have questions.

Know the Risk Factors

The risk of diabetes increases with age. If you are 45 or older, you should have an annual blood glucose screening. If you are younger than 45, talk with your doctor if you have one or more of these risk factors:

Weight — Being overweight or obese is among the most common risk factors.

Inactivity — Being inactive or getting little regular exercise increases your risk.

Family History — Having a parent or sibling with Type 2 diabetes increases your risk.

Race — People with certain ethnic backgrounds are generally at a higher risk (African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Pacific Islanders). Still, the lifestyles of many Americans put them at risk regardless of ethnicity.

High Blood Pressure — Anyone with a blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is at risk.

Blood Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels — You’re at greater risk with an HDL (good cholesterol) level of 35 mg/dL or lower, or a triglyceride level of 250 mg/dL or higher. Check your cholesterol annually with your doctor.

Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes

  • Manage your blood sugar level.
  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
  • Get regular exercise. Make a plan to exercise and find something you can do often. Regular moderate to strenuous physical activity is among the best things you can do to improve your health.
  • Lose excess weight. Even a little makes a difference. Losing as little as five percent of your body weight significantly reduces your risk. But, losing it and keeping it off isn’t easy.

ADA Recognition

Southwest Health Center’s Diabetes HEALTH Program has received the prestigious American Diabetes Association (ADA) Education Recognition Certificate. The ADA believes that this program offers high-quality educatoin that is an essential component of effective diabetes treatment. The Association’s Education Recognition Certificate assures that educational programs meet the National Standards for Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs.