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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Yes, You Can Prevent Diabetes

By Mary Schroeder, Extension educator and registered dietitian

November is American Diabetes Month, the perfect time to find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes.

About 1 in 10 people in the United States have diabetes, and more than 1 out of 3 adults have prediabetes. The 84 million Americans with prediabetes have blood glucose (sugar) levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 adults who have prediabetes don't even know it.

Why Should I Worry?

If not controlled, prediabetes might develop into type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to health issues such as:
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Kidney failure
  • Loss of toes, feet, or legs

What Can I Do About It?
screenshot of CDC screening test

  • Learn  your risk for diabetes. Print out and take the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Prediabetes Screening Test to learn your risk for diabetes. Or visit
  • Learn your blood glucose level. During the month of November, many drug stores and health care sites offer free or low-cost blood glucose tests. You might also want to ask your family doctor or other healthcare provider about getting checked for diabetes.
  • If you have prediabetes, losing weight and being more physically active can help. You don’t have to do it alone! There are great programs in Minnesota, such as I CAN Prevent Diabetes, that provide personalized guidance and coaching from trained instructors to support you in making lifestyle changes. If you are not in Minnesota, visit the CDC web page Find a Class Location Near You.

Don’t delay! Take advantage of American Diabetes Month to learn your blood glucose number and then take action as necessary. Or, if you know already that you have prediabetes, act now to lose weight and be active. Get a jump on your New Year's resolution and read Try 'SuperTracker' to Lose Weight in the New Year.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). A Snapshot: Diabetes in the United States.

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