November Recognized as National Diabetes Month

posted by Darlene DeWitt, MS, RD, LD on Wednesday, November 4, 2020

November is designated as National Diabetes Month to help draw awareness to this serious health condition.  Diabetes affects millions of households across the country, and most people can say that they know someone who has diabetes. However, often people are unaware of prediabetes, which occurs when blood sugars are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes.  Prediabetes puts individuals at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

So, how does this apply to you? Approximately 88 million American adults - that’s more than 1 in 3 - have prediabetes, and more than 84% of them do not know they have it. So, what is the good news?  Prediabetes is your chance to prevent type 2 diabetes!

Risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are:

  • Being overweight
  • Being 45 years old or older
  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active less than three times a week
  • Ever having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 lbs.
  • Having Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Race and ethnicity are also a factor: African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk.

You can find out if you are at risk by going to to take the CDC’s risk test for prediabetes. The survey can provide an indication if you are at risk; however, to truly determine if you have prediabetes, a health check which includes lab work to determine your blood sugar levels is necessary. Ask your physician about having a hemoglobin A1C test.

Lifestyle is important for the prevention of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. So, what can you do?

  • Studies have shown that even a 5-7% weight reduction can reduce your risk (for someone that weighs 200 lbs, that is just 10-14 lbs.)
  • Get regular physical activity—recommendations for all Americans are 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes on at least five days/week.
  • Eat three balanced meals per day.
  • Replace sugar-sweetened beverages with water or other calorie-free drinks.
  • Limit desserts, candy, and sweets to 1-2 times/week.

If you would like more information about how you can prevent prediabetes/Type 2 diabetes, you can reach out to Spencer Hospital’s Diabetes Education team or dietitians at 712 264-6505.

There are lots of online resources if you need more information:

  1. diabetes
  2. wellness

About The Author

Darlene DeWitt, MS, RD, LD

Darlene DeWitt is one of Spencer Hospital’s Registered Dietitians. Darlene currently provides outpatient services in the areas of Diabetes management, heart disease, weight loss, GI issues and other various health concerns.  She received her Master of Science degree in nutrition from C ... read more