Work Well

Work Well advocates for a culture of wellness for UND faculty and staff through innovative engagement opportunities.

November Wellness Spotlight

November is Diabetes Awareness Month!

Did you know that the year 2021 marked the 100th anniversary if the discovery of insulin? Before the discovery of insulin, people with diabetes did not live long lives. Since then, we have come a long way in reducing the burden diabetes has on people’s daily lives. But the fight is not over. Presently, the number of people living with diabetes is the highest it has ever been. About 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and about 1 in 5 people with diabetes do not know they have it. People are developing diabetes at younger ages and at higher rates. The more you know about diabetes, the more you can do about preventing it, delaying it, or reducing its harmful effects. In this month’s wellness spotlight, we go over diabetes prevention, understanding the risks, and tips and resources for diabetes management.

Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1:

  • Occurs at every age and in people of every race, shape, and size
  • The body does not produce insulin
  • Risk factors: having a parent or sibling with type1 diabetes

Type 2:

  • Most common form of diabetes
  • The body does not use insulin properly
  • Can lead to other serious health issues such as:
    • Heart disease
    • Stroke
    • Blindness
    • Kidney failure
  • You’re at risk if you:
    • Have prediabetes
    • Are overweight
    • Are 45 years or older
    • Have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes
    • Are physically active LESS than 3x per week
    • Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed over 9 lbs.
    • Are African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native person. Some Pacific Islanders and Asian American people are also at higher risk

Gestational Diabetes

  • Can develop during pregnancy in women who do not already have diabetes
  • 2-10% of pregnancies in the US are affected by gestational diabetes
  • Usually does not present any symptoms
  • Can develop around the 24th week of pregnancy, get tested for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks
  • About 50% of women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes

Lowering Your Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by living a healthy lifestyle. This can include eating healthier, being more active, and losing weight if you are overweight.

Eating Healthier

  • Eat smaller portions
  • Eating healthy fats
  • Skip the fad diets and make healthier choices
  • Drink water instead if sweetened beverages

Being More Active

  • Aerobic exercise: at least 150 minutes a week (walking, swimming, biking)
  • Resistance exercise: 2-3 times a week (weightlifting, yoga)
  • Limit inactivity: walk around or do some light activity every 30 minutes

Losing Weight

  • Research shows that you may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 – 7% of your starting weight
    • For example, if your starting weight is 200 lbs., your goal would be to lose about 10 to 14 lbs.
  • Talk to your doctor about reasonable short-term goals and expectations

The American Diabetes Association recommends routine screening for type 2 diabetes for all adults aged 45 or older and for the following groups:

  • People younger than 45 who are overweight or obese and have one or more risk factors associated with diabetes
  • Women who have had gestational diabetes
  • People who have been diagnosed with prediabetes
  • Children who are overweight or obese who have a family history of type 2 diabetes or other risk factors

Prediabetes – Know Your Risk

Before developing type 2 diabetes, most people have prediabetes. This is when your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough fir a diabetes diagnosis. The good news is, prediabetes can be reversed. Take this short quiz to see if you may have prediabetes. If your results indicate that you are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, schedule a visit with your doctor and talk about getting a simple blood sugar test to confirm.

Tips and Resources for Diabetes Management