Know Your Risk this November
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month
46% of all California residents-- that's nearly 1 in every 2 people-- has prediabetes, yet only 10% know they have it.
I Want To Remove The Stigma
As a trained Lifestyle Coach and Director of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, I am honored to be a part of the life changing journey that many of our participants experience.
There is still a high rate of stigma and misunderstanding related to diabetes, so I take every opportunity to educate our communities about risk factors and causes; and to understand that the disease can be prevented and managed with healthy lifestyle practices.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a health condition that affects the pancreas. It is characterized by blood sugar levels that are abnormally high.
- Today, 1 in 10 U.S. adults has diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes accounts for more than 90% of diabetes cases (type 1 diabetes accounts for fewer than 10% of cases)
- Diabetes is a top 10 leading cause of death in the U.S.
What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes happens before type 2 diabetes. It is characterized by blood sugar levels that are abnormally high, but not high enough to be diagnosed diabetes. People with prediabetes are also at risk for other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.
- 1 in 3 U.S. adults – more than 80 million people – have prediabetes
- Prediabetes may show little or no symptoms
- Only 10% of people with prediabetes know they have it
Know Your Risk
Several factors put a person at higher risk for diabetes or prediabetes:
- Family History
- Medical History
- Physical Activity Level
If a person is at risk, a formal diabetes screening conducted by a trained medical professional can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.
The Good News
The good news is that healthy lifestyle practices, such as healthy eating, regular physical activity, and managing stress are shown to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with these conditions, and in some cases may even reverse or prevent the disease.
The Y is Fighting Back!
YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a one-year program designed to help adults at risk for type 2 diabetes to reduce risk and make healthy lifestyle changes. Participants spend a year focused on making healthy changes, and are surrounded by supportive people with common goals, while they receive hands-on guidance from Lifestyle Coaches trained on a CDC-approved curriculum.
The Lights Came On for Bobby
"I’m from Hawaii, so I grew up eating salty foods like fish, ramen and soy sauce. I worked midnight shift, so my eating habits weren't the greatest. I wasn’t sleeping very well. So, there was just a lot of stuff that built up to actually having the heart attack.
There were some lights that came on when I was diagnosed pre-diabetic. There were some lights that came on when I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. But all the lights came on when I had the heart attack... I mean, I was on an operating table getting stints in my heart. That was a wake-up call.
At the end of this program, I know I’ll have the tools to live a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle. I know I can decrease my risk to getting another heart attack, and living a simpler, easier life with less stress. I’m excited to start living aloha."
- Bobby, Diabetes Prevention Participant
Betty is Getting an Education Without Embarassment
"I was born and grew up in Nicaragua, not knowing what Diabetes was or that my Grandmother had it. The Latino population tends to eat a lot. If you see a Latino dish you’ll see a lot of rice, beans, potatoes, and macaroni and on the side tortilla or bread, along with meat.
In this program, we have learned to see the labels of the products, to know how many calories, fat, and protein each meal has or at least have access to it. We are also learning about exercise that will help us burn those calories. It’s very important that we learn how to eat properly and to educate ourselves without embarrassment."
-Betty, Diabetes Prevention Participant
In Our One-Year Program:
- Participants lose an average of 5.5 pounds (about 11 pounds for a 200 lb. person)*
- Participants achieve an average physical activity level of 162.5 minutes per week*
- 93% of participants self-report decreasing portion sizes*
How It Works
- Attend 25 one-hour sessions over 12 months
- Small-group, supportive environment (8-15 people)
- Led by a trained Lifestyle Coach
- YMCA membership not required
To Qualify, you must be:
- Aged 18 or older
- Overweight (BMI ≥25, or ≥23 for Asians)
- At risk for developing type 2 diabetes
Long Term Commitment = Long Term Support
As the Program Director, I speak personally to every individual wanting to join. I think I’m most excited when I hear participants say they are ready to take charge of their health; that they are done letting life just happen. These individuals have likely watched someone in their life suffer from type 2 diabetes and they're clear they don't want that to be their life experience. They’re calling me because they’ve discovered their course of health can be different.
I also love the diversity of our Program participants. We have men and women of all ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds, education levels and socio-economic statuses.
While the stories are powerful, it’s important to understand the commitment these individuals have made to change their health. The Diabetes Prevention Program is a year-long experience that helps you look at and address all of the lifestyle factors that contribute to better health. While it isn’t easy to increase awareness of our long-standing habits, if you’re willing to put in the effort there’s something to be gained.
As scary as it can be to make changes, this program offers long term support in a group of motivated individuals. Not only will you have the opportunity to lead a healthier lifestyle and discover more about yourself, you’ll build a community alongside a group of people making the same types of change.
Follow the curiosity that you have and give me a call to learn more about the Program and I’ll be sure to get your questions answered. The only thing worse than failing is not trying at all.