Healthier Together: Know your risk during National Diabetes Month


This content was created in partnership with our sponsor, Regence BlueShield.

November is more than just a month of chilly winds and cozy sweaters; it's also National Diabetes Month.

Nearly half of Americans have either diabetes or prediabetes, but many of them don’t know it. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. If you have prediabetes, your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

National Diabetes Month "is a great time to think about when was the last time you were screened for diabetes or prediabetes," said Dr. Nicole Saint Clair, executive medical director for Regence BlueShield.

By far, Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent form of the chronic disease; up to 95% of the people with diabetes have Type 2, and it’s usually diagnosed in adults.

People can avoid Type 2 diabetes through a healthy diet and exercise, Dr. Saint Clair said.

"There are many, many more Americans living with prediabetes than current type 2 diabetes, and this is really important because if you know that you're in a prediabetes state, you can actually either prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes."

Moving away from processed foods and embracing whole, complex foods, fiber-rich diets, and protein-packed meals can make a significant difference.
Physical exercise is equally crucial, and it doesn't matter what form it takes. "It's really just about getting your heart rate up," said Dr. Saint Clair. Taking just 30 minutes a day for physical activity can be a game changer for your health.

If you're over the age of 45, overweight or obese, or have a first-degree relative with diabetes, it's vital to discuss your risk with your doctor.

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One important resource to be aware of is formal diabetes prevention programs. Dr. Saint Clair said. "These programs have been proven to work extremely well in preventing or delaying diabetes."

While a third of Americans are prediabetic, only 1 in 5 of these Americans are aware of their status. It's critically important to talk to your doctor, understand your risks, and undergo regular testing.


This content was created in partnership with our sponsor, Regence BlueShield.