Get informed about diabetes and how the Y can help you reduce your risks


November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so there’s no better time to learn about type 2 diabetes and the steps you can take to prevent it.

About type 2 diabetes and prediabetes

As you may know, there are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition often diagnosed in children. Type 2 diabetes, diagnosed more often in adults, is far more common and the number of cases continues to grow.

New statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 86 million people in the U.S. have prediabetes—elevated blood glucose levels that are not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
The results of diabetes can be devastating. Adults with diabetes or prediabetes are at higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke than other groups of people. And, medical expenses for people with diabetes are more than two times higher than expenses for people without diabetes.

Find out if you’re at risk

While only a blood test by a health care provider can confirm prediabetes, several factors can put an individual in the high-risk category including:

  • Family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Low levels of physical activity
  • Being over age 45
  • Race—African-Americans have a 77 percent higher risk and Hispanic/Latinos have a 66 percent higher risk than non-Hispanic whites

Get more resources about risk factors and take a prediabetes screening test on our website.

How to reduce your risk

The good news is that individuals can reduce their risk for developing diabetes. Research has shown that modest weight loss and regular, moderate physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

The YMCA offers a Diabetes Prevention Program specifically for people who are overweight and have prediabetes or are at risk for acquiring type 2 diabetes. It is group-based and provides a full year of support—covering nutrition, physical activity and behavior modification.