Are you at Risk for Diabetes?

Woman-Walking-in-the-FallDuring National Diabetes Awareness Month in November, take a moment to learn if you are at risk. Nearly 30.3 million Americans have diabetes, a serious disease where blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are above normal. Prevention, early diagnosis and treatment are key to avoiding serious problems caused by high blood glucose such as heart disease, stroke, vision loss, kidney disease and nerve damage.

Before people develop diabetes, they usually have prediabetes, which means their blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be called diabetes. One in three people may have prediabetes and nine out of 10 are unaware of their condition.

Most people who are diagnosed with diabetes have adult-onset diabetes, known as Type 2. At one time, Type 2 diabetes was most common in people older than 45. However, more young people, even children, have the disease due to being overweight or obese.

Some of the risk factors for diabetes:

  • 45+ years old
  • Overweight or increased body fat percentage
  • Parent or sibling has diabetes
  • Family background is African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander
  • Had gestational diabetes while pregnant, or gave birth to a baby weighing nine 9+ pounds
  • Blood pressure is 140/90 or higher
  • HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) is less than 35 or triglyceride levels are higher than 250
  • Physically active less than three times a week
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Skin that appears dirty no matter how much you scrub it

Studies show that people at high risk for diabetes and who are overweight can prevent or delay onset by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight—that’s 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Getting at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week is helpful for delaying or preventing diabetes. It’s also important to know the healthy range for blood glucose levels.

Know Your Blood Glucose Numbers

Fasting Blood Glucose Test 2-Hour Oral Glucose Tolerance Test A1c
Normal Below 100 Below 140 <5.7
Prediabetes 100-125 140-199 5.7-6.4
Diabetes 126 or above 200 or above =/> 6.5


Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center offers a diabetes education program accredited through the American Association of Diabetes Educators, which includes support groups and online resources. For more information, please visit our website, call 217-788-3948 or join the conversation on Facebook.