UCLA study finds nearly half of Ventura County adults have prediabetes; Few Ventura residents know they are at risk.
Following alarming data in a landmark study on diabetes published by UCLA this month and in conjunction with Diabetes Alert Day observed this year on March 22, the Ventura Family YMCA is encouraging residents of the Ventura area 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 UCLA Center for Health Policy Research study found that nearly half of California adults, including one out of every three young adults, have prediabetes. The research provides the first analysis and breakdown of California prediabetes rates by county, age and ethnicity.
In Ventura County, 47 percent of adults have prediabetes or undiagnosed diabetes. The county follows the state trend, with 32 percent of 18-39 year olds having prediabetes or undiagnosed diabetes. Six percent of Ventura County adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the study.
The YMCA offers a simple test where individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. The test can be accessed at YMCA.net/diabetes. Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for 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.
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 type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic medical condition that occurs when a person’s body does not make enough insulin to process the sugars consumed through food or when the body doesn’t effectively use the insulin the body does produce. Diabetes is a serious chronic condition that can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, loss of limbs, and blindness.
“The number of new people with prediabetes continues to rise and with that the importance of helping people understand what a prediabetes diagnosis means,” said Margo Byrne, Chief Operations Officer, Channel Islands YMCA. “Type 2 diabetes affects not just the person but entire families as well, but the good news is that it is possible to reverse course—simple lifestyle changes reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the Y can help people make the necessary changes to improve health.”
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 at least 30 minutes per day five days a 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 Ventura Family YMCA offers members free fitness orientations, progressive group exercise classes, adult small group training classes, Aqua Zumba, a Teen Strength program, Senior Swimming, 3 on 3 basketball, racquetball, swimming classes and more. The Y offers a variety of exercise programs that can help prevent and eliminate type 2 diabetes. To learn more about the Ventura Family YMCA’s healthyliving programs, please visit ciymca.org/ventura, stop in at 3760 Telegraph Rd. Ventura, CA 93003, or call 805.642.2131.