Diabetes Alert Day, March 28, 2023, promotes the quick and easy Diabetes Risk Test and serves as a “wake up call” for taking steps to prevent or manage diabetes. Being overweight, having a family history of diabetes, and lacking physical activity increases the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
“It would be great if all people over age 30 did the risk screen,” emphasized Rhonda Jensen APRN-CNS, BC-ADM, CDCES, clinical nurse specialist at Sanford USD Medical Center. “Even if the results created some small changes in behavior or a good conversation with their provider, it would be a success. The first step in making any change is realizing that you need to!”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in five Americans living with diabetes and more than 8 in 10 adults living with prediabetes are undiagnosed and unaware.
“Diabetes Alert Day gives us an opportunity to encourage primary prevention activities,” Jensen explained. “I have always believed that if I was really doing my job, I would be preventing people from getting diabetes not just helping them prevent complications once they had it. The current risk screen is quick and gives people an opportunity to identify changes they can make to prevent diabetes.”
With 37.3 million (about 11%) of the American adult population diagnosed with diabetes and approximately 96 million more with prediabetes, embracing lifestyle changes would have a significant impact on preventing health complications and diabetes diagnosis.
“Better Choices Better Health (BCBH) Diabetes Self-management workshops offer tools to help prevent or delay the onset of health complications by providing tools for better nutrition, physical activity, sleep, communication, and stress management,” said Denise Kolba, RN, master trainer for BCBH. “I have visited with participants years after completing the workshops and they comment they still find the tools valuable and continue to use the skills they learned to better manage their diabetes/prediabetes.”
Jensen reinforced the value of lifestyle change, “People who have entered diabetes prevention programs with intent to make changes can be successful. We all work every day to help people manage diabetes and prevent complications. I have worked many years in diabetes and seen the trauma this disease causes: amputations, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and dialysis. I have also worked with patients who have lost weight and started to exercise and have successfully changed the trajectory of the disease.”