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Are you at risk for Type 2 diabetes? Experts urge testing

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At least 300,000 people in Minnesota have diabetes. And experts say one-quarter of these – that’s 75,000 people – don’t even know they have the disease.

According to the American Diabetes Association, the number of people across the country with diabetes has more than tripled over the last couple decades to nearly 26 million, linked partly with the rise in obesity rates. And because Type 2 diabetes develops slowly, experts say, some people with high blood sugar may have no symptoms.

Not knowing puts you at much greater risk for serious and even deadly conditions, including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and nerve problems, even erectile dysfunction.

Take a 60-second test to find out if you’re at risk for Type 2 diabetes.

 Managing My: Type 2 Diabetes

– Educate yourself about your risk right away, say the experts at UnitedHealthcare. 

– Tips for controlling diabetes:
If you have Type 2 Diabetes, it’s important to test your blood sugar and manage medications with your doctor. Diet and exercise are also critical. The American Diabetes Association says eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise will help you control your weight and can keep your blood glucose in the healthy range, which can help prevent or delay complications. Losing weight can also improve your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.

– What Does “Healthy Eating” Really Mean?
Eating a variety of foods, including vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy foods, healthy fats, and lean meats or meat substitutes. Trying not to eat too much food. Trying not to eat too much of one type of food. Spacing your meals evenly throughout the day. Not skipping meals.

The American Diabetes Association says you don’t need any special tools and don’t need to do any counting to eat well with diabetes. You just need to focus on filling your plate with more non-starchy vegetables and less starchy foods and meats.

Here's a video from UnitedHealthcare's nutrition expert Kathleen Zelman on how to make nutritious, delicious diabetic-friendly smoothies.

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