Did you know that type 2 diabetes can be prevented? Knowing if you have a greater chance of getting the disease than other people is the first step in making changes to stay healthy.
Diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans now, and the rate at which people develop it is increasing.
Taking a short quiz to check your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is one way you can take the first step to prevent diabetes. CDC’s quiz, at right, asks you about circumstances that can predict whether you are more likely than others to develop the disease. The quiz is called the prediabetes screening test, because it checks whether you are likely to have a condition called prediabetes, which often leads to type 2 diabetes within a few years.
If you have prediabetes, your blood sugar (glucose) is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Prediabetes is a wake-up call that type 2 diabetes could be in your future, but you can still prevent it. Research shows that people with prediabetes can greatly reduce the chance they will develop type 2 diabetes by losing some weight and getting more active.
People with prediabetes also are at higher risk for heart disease, stroke and eye disease. Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and the loss of feet or legs. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
Knowing your risk lets you take charge of your health by making lifestyle changes, such as staying physically active and eating nutritious foods. If the CDC screening quiz shows you have a high risk for prediabetes, talk to your health care provider about getting tested and making changes to eat more healthfully and add more physical activity to your routine.
Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
Almost everyone who develops type 2 diabetes has prediabetes first. You are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes if you are:
Have a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes
Age 45 or older
Developed diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes)
Are not physically active
Belong to certain racial or ethnic groups. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes.
The lifetime risk of diabetes for people born in the United States in 2000 is:
For all Americans: 1 of 3
For African American and Hispanic males: 2 of 5
For African American and Hispanic females: 1 of 2
Additionally, CDC estimates that as many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050 if current trends continue. One in 9 U.S. adults has diabetes now.
How Can You Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?
Even if you have prediabetes, you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by changing some habits, studies have shown. You can do it by losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight if you are overweight – that’s just 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person – and being physically active.
Two keys to success:
Get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, dancing or gardening.
Eat a variety of foods that are low in fat, and reduce the number of calories you eat per day.
If you have prediabetes or have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes based on the risk factors listed above, you also can reduce your risk by participating in a lifestyle change program that offers advice on healthy eating, physical activity and coping skills in a structured group setting. The National Diabetes Prevention Program, managed by CDC, is working with community-based organizations and insurers to bring proven lifestyle change programs to communities across America. You can find information on program locations from CDC’s list of recognized programs and from YMCA of the USA.
The National Diabetes Education Program, a joint program of CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), offers many resources to help prevent type 2 diabetes (Small Steps. Big Rewards. Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes) and to control diabetes (4 Steps to Control Your Diabetes. For Life). These include booklets with healthy eating tips and recipes, information on staying active, provider kits, and more. Publications are designed for various groups, including people with prediabetes, people with diabetes, family members, work sites and health professionals.
Diabetes Information and Resources
CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation offers a range of information on diabetes, including details on prevention; diabetes control and maintenance; risk factors; complications; tips for a healthy lifestyle; and other diabetes related information. In addition, the division offers data and trend information on diabetes (and related issues) for the nation and all 50 states, including county-level data.