November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes Rates Continue To Rise—Are You at Risk?

During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Greater Joliet Area YMCA strongly encourages residents of Will County to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in three Americans (84 million people) has prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk of developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.

Making some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
  • Aim for whole grains with every meal.
  • Be moderately active, getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
  • Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
  • Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight.

The Greater Joliet Area YMCA aims to prevent prediabetes and type 2 diabetes through the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). Featuring a CDC-approved curriculum, the yearlong program includes 16 weekly sessions, plus additional monthly sessions, in a classroom-based setting. The goal is to help participants reduce their body weight by seven percent and increase their activity level to 150 minutes per week.

The Y also offers a free Diabetes Self-Management Program for diabetics, pre-diabetics and caregivers. The 7-week program provides valuable information and tools for self-managing diabetes.

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