Assisting Patients in Understanding Their Risk for Diabetes Can Help Prevent Diabetes in their Future

March 22nd, 2011 by mike Leave a reply »

Knowing about your risk for type 2 diabetes is the first step toward preventing or delaying the onset of the disease or promoting an early diagnosis. People at risk for type 2 diabetes can take action to lower their risk for the disease by making – and maintaining – healthy lifestyle changes. With early diagnosis and treatment, people with diabetes may prevent the development of diabetes-related health problems, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation, and even death. Diabetes Alert Day, observed annually the fourth Tuesday in March, is a one-day wake-up call to inform the public about the seriousness of diabetes, and to urge them to know their risk. Helping at-risk patients learn about their risk for developing type 2 diabetes is a critical step in counseling them to prevent diabetes and improve health outcomes. 

Reminders for Health Care Professionals:


  • Knowing their risk for type 2 diabetes helps patients take steps toward prevention. Urge patients to take charge of their health by taking the Diabetes Risk Test.
  • Family history plays a key role in the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. When discussing medical history, ask patients if they have a mother, father, brother, or sister with diabetes. Encourage them to start the conversation with family members today.
  • Gestational diabetes increases the future risk for diabetes in mothers and their children. In addition to inquiring about a family history of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, ask patients if they have had a history of gestational diabetes during pregnancy, and if their mother had gestational diabetes. Women with a history of gestational diabetes can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by losing a small amount of weight and becoming more physically active. They can lower their child’s risk for type 2 diabetes by helping them not become overweight, serving healthy foods, and being active as a family. 
  • Progression to type 2 diabetes is not inevitable. Overweight, at-risk patients can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by losing a small amount of weight – as little as 5 to 7 percent (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) – and becoming more physically active.  
  • Type 2 diabetes prevention is a family affair. Encourage patients to make a plan that includes healthy lifestyle changes. For support, they can ask family members to join them. Specific recommendations include eating smaller portions by making half their plate veggies and/or fruit, one-fourth whole grains, and one-fourth protein. Recommend that they try to be active for at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. To help them reach this goal, suggest that they split their physical activity into three, daily 10-minute sessions. 
  • An estimated one out of every four people with diabetes has the disease and does not know it. Recommend testing for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes to your patients who are at high-risk.   

To help patients learn more about their risk for developing type 2 diabetes, contact the National Diabetes Education Program at 1-888-693-6337 or visit to order free resources such as Your GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, It’s Never Too Early to Prevent Diabetes, and Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes; all are available in English or Spanish.


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