An estimated 84 million Americans are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes—and someone you love could be among them. However, many people don’t realize that type 2 diabetes can be delayed or even prevented with healthy lifestyle changes. This means that even if your loved ones are at risk for diabetes, there’s still time for them to take the steps necessary to turn their health around.
Not sure how to bring the topic up? Follow these tips to help your friends and family members learn about their risk for type 2 diabetes.
- Bring backup: You may have an understanding of type 2 diabetes, but not everyone does. Make sure to be prepared with information about diabetes symptoms and risk factors. You can review our resources on diabetes.org or work with your loved one’s health provider to gather this information.
- Be understanding: Unfortunately, type 2 diabetes has many myths and negative stigmas surrounding it. Diabetes can happen to anyone—but even if you understand this, your loved one may view your concern as an attack. Let your loved one know that you care about his or her health, and want to help prevent or delay a type 2 diagnosis.
- Get educated: Consider joining a support group or diabetes education class with your loved one so that you can learn more together. Our local field offices can help you find options for in-person opportunities in your area. You can contact your nearest office here, or search for local recognized education programs here.
- Take things slowly: Your health doesn’t change overnight. If your loved one is living with multiple risk factors, he or she may be overwhelmed by the thought of making long-term lifestyle changes. Let your loved one know that you’re in it for the long haul, and will be there for support.
- Build a team: Depending on your loved one’s Risk Test results, you may need to consult with a doctor or other health care professional. You can help your loved one build a diabetes care team, from a PCP, to an endocrinologist, to a mental health counselor. Our local offices can help with this, as can our new Mental Health Provider Directory.
Nearly half of all American adults live with diabetes or prediabetes, and chances are someone you love is one of them. Encourage them to make a change this Alert Day.