More than one-third of Nebraska’s population is either diabetic or prediabetic and a new campaign is being launched here in hopes of reversing a dangerous trend.
Dr. David Grayson Marrero, past-president of the American Diabetes Association, says they’re focusing on the several hundred-thousand Nebraskans who are prediabetic with the goal of getting them to make a few key changes that could mean saving their lives.
“Risk factors would be: excess weight or obesity; it would be family history of type 2 diabetes, a first-degree relative, mother, father, sister, brother,” Dr. Marrero says. “It could be age. Older people are more likely to have prediabetes. It can be a woman who’s had gestational diabetes or diabetes during pregnancy.”
The website, doihaveprediabetes.org, features a simple test people can take to determine if they might have the condition.
He says prediabetes can be headed off before it worsens. “Very modest changes in your lifestyle,” Marrero says. “Losing 5 to 10% of your body weight and increasing your physical activity to the equivalent of 150 minutes a week of walking, that’s 30 minutes a day. It can really make a huge difference and reduce your risk between 60 to 70%.”
Studies find about 160,000 Nebraskans, or about 11% of the population, has diabetes and perhaps 30% of them don’t know it as they haven’t been diagnosed.
“More importantly, we know that there are 487,000 people with prediabetes and of that group, about 95,000 don’t know that they have prediabetes. We’re talking about almost 36% of the state of Nebraska has prediabetes at this point in time.”
There are several long-term risks of prediabetes, including stroke, heart attacks, blindness and amputation.
Research suggests once people are aware of their condition, they’re more likely to make the lifestyle changes necessary to prevent or delay progression to type 2 diabetes.
Marrero is director of the Diabetes Translational Research Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine.