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Diabetes testing, prevention programs offered in Niagara, Erie counties

Every 19 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates that by the year 2050, one of every three Americans will develop Type 2 diabetes if current trends continue.

Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S., and is responsible for serious health complications that include heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and lower-extremity amputation.

“Our families and communities cannot afford these kinds of terrible outcomes in terms of suffering and loss; especially when we know, given the right information, people can prevent or manage diabetes very well,” Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel Stapleton said in a news release. “Knowing and understanding their risks is the first important step people can take to start building their arsenal against diabetes.”

Many Americans are at a great risk for prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition where the blood glucose is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diabetes. By screening, testing, and then treating prediabetes, new cases of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed and even prevented. However, nine out of 10 people with prediabetes do not know that they have it. If you are unsure if you are at risk, talk to your primary care doctor or county health department, which can provide resources to help determine your risk.

The Niagara County Department of Health Diabetes Prevention Program is a 16-week program with two goals: Lose a modest amount of weight and keep it off, and increase your physical activity. Studies show that attending the program can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent; 71 percent for those over age 60. For those already with Type 2 diabetes, the department offers a Diabetes Self-Management Program. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, call the nursing division at 278-1900 to register for free, ongoing informational workshops.

In Erie County, the YMCA Buffalo Niagara has expanded its Diabetes Prevention Program for those with prediabetes or in danger of becoming diabetic. A new series of classes starts next month at the Delaware, Independent Health, Ken-Ton, Southtowns and William-Emslie family branches. For more information, click on the “wellness” tab at ymcabuffaloniagara.org or call one of the branches.