Diabetes: A Growing Problem in the U.S. and the U.P.
If you knew you could make lifestyle changes to prevent or delay getting a very serious and expensive medical condition, would you do it? According to Ann Constance, Director of the U.P. Diabetes Outreach Network (UPDON) ‘an estimated 100,000 Yooper’s live with prediabetes (1 out of 3 adults and 50% of seniors), and 90% (90,000) don’t even know it. Prediabetes is the stage before type 2 diabetes; it is also the time that you can make lifestyle changes to stop diabetes!’
Know Your Risk: Take a 1-Minute Online Prediabetes Risk Test
How do you know if you are 1 of the 3 adults or 1 of the 2 seniors who may be living with prediabetes and don’t know it? You can take a simple 1-minute online prediabetes risk test. Based on your score the test will tell you if you’re at risk of living with prediabetes and on your way to developing diabetes.
If the test indicates that you are at risk of developing diabetes, follow these next steps.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that affects how the body turns food into energy.
When food is digested, it is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into the bloodstream. In healthy people, an organ called the pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key to let blood sugar into the body’s cells for use as energy. But with diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in the bloodstream, which over time can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is the stage before type 2 diabetes when your fasting blood sugars are 100 to 125 mg/dL. It is also the time that you can make lifestyle changes to stop diabetes.
In the U.S., 84.1 million adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes, and 90 percent of them don’t know they have it. Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
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 if you are a senior it’s 72%.
Next Steps if You're at Risk
Talk to Your Health Care Provider
If the prediabetes assessment indicated that you could be at 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; a finger poke test can’t be used. You may need a second test if your blood sugar is high.
Diabetes Prevention Weight Loss Programs
Currently, there are no in-person classes in the U.P., but MSU Extension offers a free program via Zoom. They will hold a virtual information session on January 13, 2021 at 8 a.m., with the first class beginning on January 27. View more information about this program on this flyer (PDF).
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 (RDN)
Most hospitals and some clinics have RDNs (you can do this via telehealth too!)
Join a Weight Loss Program
Consider joining a program such as Weight Watchers or Tops, or explore online programs.
Get More Information
Diabetes facts from the CDC:
There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant).
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction that stops the body from making insulin. About 5 percent of the people who have diabetes have type 1. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop quickly. While it's usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, it also occurs in older adults. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to survive. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.
With type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. Most people with diabetes—9 in 10—have type 2 diabetes. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults (though increasingly in children, teens, and young adults because of rising childhood obesity, poor diet and lack of daily physical activity.) Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, healthy eating, and getting regular physical activity.
Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. Gestational diabetes raises the risk for health complications for the baby. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born but increases the mother’s risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. And the baby is more likely to become obese as a child or teen, and more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life, too.
This initiative is a partnership between Northern Michigan University, UPDON and the Lions Club of Michigan.
Lions Clubs of Michigan Defense Against Diabetes serving people in our communities with a need for diabetes screening, prevention, educational programs and community awareness. There are 55 Lions Clubs serving the Upper Peninsula to strengthen our communities and to help reduce the prevalence of diabetes through service, investment and kindness.
Learn more about the Lions Club and D.A.D. on their website, or by reaching out using the contact information below:
646 County Rd.
Negaunee, MI 49866
Tel / 906-399-6233
E / firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDON has been nationally recognized for improving diabetes care and outcomes across the U.P. of Michigan.
- Works to ensure that cost-effective diabetes prevention, detection, treatment, supplies and support services are available and funded across the U.P.
- Strives to help Upper Peninsula residents eat better, move more and not smoke in order to prevent diabetes & complications related to diabetes.
- Maintains a U.P. wide diabetes coalition to enhance collaboration and to identify and address gaps in diabetes related services.
- Works with health care professionals to help strengthen knowledge of diabetes treatment issues and delivery of care.