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Featured Story 23 March 2021

American Diabetes Association Alert Month

Written By Jenna Chalcroft

Learn more about diabetes, its risk factors and prevention tips from Ivinson's lead clinical dietician, Jenna Chalcraft.

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. 

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction where the body attacks the cells of the pancreas mistakenly and the body is no longer able to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by β cells of pancreas. It plays as the key to open the door of the cells to make glucose enter the cells so that glucose can be used as energy.

Type 2 diabetes is when pancreas does not produce enough insulin and the cells do not respond normally to insulin. Pancreas then makes more insulin to try to make cells respond. Eventually the pancreas cannot keep up the workload, the blood sugar is elevated. 

Gestational diabetes, also called diabetes during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually shows up in the middle of pregnancy, doctors most often test for it between 24 – 28 weeks of pregnancy. 

Prevalence

According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020:

  • 34.2 million Americans — just over 1 in 10 — have diabetes.
  • 88 million American adults — approximately 1 in 3 — have prediabetes. (1)
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Risk Factors

Type 1 diabetes

You’re at risk for developing type 1 diabetes based on:

  • Family history: having a parent, brother, or sister with type 1 diabetes.
  • Age: you can get type 1 diabetes at any age, but it’s more likely to develop when you’re a child, teen, or young adult.

Type 2 diabetes

You’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Have prediabetes.
  • Are overweight.
  • Are 45 years or older.
  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
  • Are physically active less than 3 times a week.
  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.
  • Are African American, Hispanic/​Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk).

Gestational Diabetes

You’re at risk for developing gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant) if you:

  • Had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy.
  • Have given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds.
  • Are overweight.
  • Are more than 25 years old.
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Have a hormone disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Are African American, Hispanic/​Latino American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander (2).

Diagnosis

Result
A1C Test
Fasting Blood Sugar Test
Glucose Tolerance Test
Random Blood Sugar Test
Diabetes6.5% or above126 mg/​dL or above200 mg/​dL or above200 mg/​dL or above
Prediabetes5.7 – 6.4%100 – 125 mg/​dL140 – 199 mg/​dLN/A
NormalBelow 5.799 mg/​dL or below140 mg/​dL or belowN/A
Source: American Diabetes Association (3)

Prevention Tips

  • Maintain healthy body weight.
    • Weight control is an important part of diabetes prevention.
    • Healthy Body Mass Index (18.524.9 kg/​m2).
  • Follow a healthy eating pattern.
    • Limit saturated fat to 10% of the total daily calorie intake. Choose healthy fat (monounsaturated fat) such as olive oil, peanut butter, avocados, etc.
    • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits as they contain abundant of fibers, antioxidant, vitamins and minerals.
    • Replace refined grains to whole grains because whole grains have more fibers and vitamins.
    • Drink unsweetened beverages.
  • Be physically active. Exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. You can start slowly and work up your goal.
  • Reduce stress level. Stress can cause overeating, building up a healthy eating routine. (4)
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