Diabetes: Know Your Risk

One out of every three American adults has prediabetes, and most of them don’t even know it. If you are age 45 or older, are overweight, and have a family history of Type 2 diabetes, or had diabetes while you were pregnant, then you have a higher risk of developing prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

People with prediabetes have a blood-sugar level that is above normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Without a lifestyle change, prediabetes can develop into Type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that can lead to a heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure or the loss of toes, feet, or legs. Diabetes is a silent disease. Often, by the time it is diagnosed, damage to arteries, eyes, nerves and kidneys may have been going on for years.

Are You at Risk for Developing Diabetes?

Take the following quiz to see whether you are at risk. Write down the points for each statement below that is true for you, and then add your score.

  • Are you more than 20 percent above your ideal body weight? (Yes = 5 points)
  • I am under 65 years old and get little or no exercise in a usual day. (Yes = 5 points)
  • I am 45 – 64 years old. (Yes = 5 points)
  • I am 65 years or older. (Yes = 9 points)
  • I am a woman who has had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth. (Yes = 1 point)
  • I have a sibling with diabetes. (Yes = 1 point)
  • I have a parent with diabetes. (Yes = 1 point)

3 – 9 points: You probably are at low risk for now, but you may be at a higher risk in the future. New guidelines recommend that everyone age 45 or older consider getting tested for the disease every three years.

9 points or more: You could be at high risk. See your healthcare provider soon to find out for sure.

If you’re at risk for prediabetes, making modest lifestyle changes now—like eating healthier, being more active, and reducing stress—can help you avoid making the much bigger life changes that come with managing Type2 diabetes. Research shows that such modest behavior changes can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in those who are at high risk for developing this disease.

Reduce Your Diabetes Risk

Learn how to reduce your risk of developing diabetes, lose weight, enjoy the support of others facing the same challenges and learn how to make lasting lifestyle changes for better health with SMH’s Prevent T2 program. For more information, contact Sarasota Memorial’s certified Diabetes Education team at (941) 917-7468 or watch the video of a recent HealthConnection talk on preventing prediabetes and the Prevent T2 program.


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