March 24 is American Diabetes Association “Alert Day,” a one-day “wake-up call” asking the public to take the “Diabetes Risk Test” to find out whether they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Linda Tilton, certified diabetes educator, explains who is at risk and how to lower your risk for diabetes. Currently, 30 million Americans are living with diabetes.

Linda Tilton, MS, RD, CDE, is a Clinical Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at The University of Vermont Medical Center.

Linda Tilton, MS, RD, CDE, is a Clinical Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at The University of Vermont Medical Center.

You may have type 2 diabetes – and not even know it. More than 8 million people have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. Even more – 86 million, or 1 in 3 Americans – have prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

As they say, knowledge is power – so get empowered by taking the Diabetes Risk Test today. This test asks a few questions about family history, age, weight, race, and ethnicity. It is available online and takes only a few minutes to complete. Your responses are scored to determine whether you have a high or low risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Take the test and know your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Then, share this link with family and friends.

If the Diabetes Risk Test score indicates that you are at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, we urge you to contact your health care provider to discuss how to decrease your risk. We cannot change our age, race and ethnicity, or family history, but we can take a few simple steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Follow these three steps, starting today:

  1. Stay at a healthy weight. It can help you prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. A healthy weight may also help you better manage problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol, and high blood glucose. Take action: Keep a weight diary (a paper diary, or download a weight diary app for your phone) to monitor your weight on a weekly basis. Watch for any changes.
  2. Make healthy food choices. This is one of the most important steps you can take to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Take action: Meet with a registered dietitian to review your current eating habits and set goals for behavior change. A registered dietitian is part of your community health team if you are a patient at The University of Vermont Medical Center. You can also schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian in the Endocrinology & Diabetes Clinic, or through Nutrition Services at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
  3. Increase physical activity. This works, even if you haven’t been very active lately. The American Diabetes Association recommends 150 minutes of regular physical activity per week. Take Action: Join the University of Vermont Medical Center Wellness Change and get moving, or find a health challenge through your community’s recreation department or a local gym – better yet, start one where you work!

Visit the American Diabetes Association website to learn more about healthy lifestyle changes that will help you reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Linda Tilton, MS, RD, CDE, is a Clinical Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at The University of Vermont Medical Center. In 2013, The UVM Medical Center earned national certification in diabetes education. Learn more about The UVM Medical Center’s Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition practice. Linda is also the coordinating board chair for the Vermont Association of Diabetes Educators.

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