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Your Risk for Developing Diabetes … and What To Do Next

Wendy Sanders, ARNP, with a patientHave you ever wondered whether you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes? Or, if you have it, maybe you’ve wondered about the options available to you for managing it the best you can.

Diabetes can be rooted in family history. When it comes to your genetics, there are four questions you should ask family members:

  1. Does anyone in the family have Type 2 diabetes? If so, who?
  2. Has anyone in the family been told they might develop diabetes?
  3. Has anyone in the family been told they need to lower their weight or increase physical activity to prevent Type 2 diabetes?
  4. Did my mother get diabetes when she was pregnant (gestational diabetes)?

If the answer to any of these is yes, or you have a parent or sibling with Type 2 diabetes, you may be at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

However, diabetes is not only a genetic concern. You may develop it without family history if you do not maintain a healthy weight, eat well or keep active. Unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and high blood glucose can indicate risk, too. You can’t change your family history, but you can change your diet and exercise routines.

If it is determined that you have diabetes, you are not alone. Approximately 9% of Americans have diabetes, and many more are undiagnosed. Receiving the diagnosis can be overwhelming, but there is hope. It’s important to take action right away to prevent further complications and improve your quality of life.

Your primary care provider can diagnose diabetes, but it is recommended to connect with a comprehensive diabetes care team like the MercyCare Diabetes Center for the best results.

Everyone living with diabetes should see a diabetes nurse or dietitian at least once per year. This is covered by Medicare and will help you successfully manage your diabetes. With most other insurances, the only cost for diabetes education is an office co-pay.

There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed. Many people living with diabetes have long, happy lives. The key is working closely with your diabetes care team to balance nutrition, activity and medication.

To learn more about diabetes and the MercyCare Diabetes Center, visit www.mercycare.org/diabetes or call (319) 398-6711.

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