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Stay ahead of diabetes: know your risk

KRCG 13 spoke with Certified Diabetes Educator Cheryl Lummis about which factors could put you or your loved ones at risk for diabetes. (MGN Online)

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and experts say knowing your risk for diabetes can help you stay ahead of this disease.

In this week's Family First segment, KRCG 13 spoke with Certified Diabetes Educator Cheryl Lummis about which factors could put you or your loved ones at risk for diabetes.

Lummis said when it comes to Type 2 diabetes, it's all about knowing where you come from: "I've always said I live my life like I have diabetes, because I know at some point I'll have diabetes because my grandmother did," she said.

But she also said as a Certified Diabetes Educator, she talks to people constantly about risk factors that are in the here and now, such as not getting enough exercise or not eating healthy. "People don't realize that your eating habits starting back when you're a kid will carry on when you're an adult - and those type of things will really cause you issues."

Eating better and exercising more are both actions patients can take, but Lummis said some risk factors are unchangeable - like genetics. She said the same principle holds true of age - one risk factor for diabetes is being over age 45. But, it hasn't always been that way.

"The interesting thing is, back when I started teaching diabetes a long time, most of the people were over the age of 65. As I started doing this, we started to see the trend of people getting younger and younger.

Younger diabetics aren't the only trend, according to data from the CDC, which shows diabetes has massively increased across the board in the U.S. in the past decades.

Lummis said even when the numbers seem to be increasing faster than anyone could keep up, the key to knowing your risk factors is focusing on those you can control. "Just making healthy choices overall, all through your life... that's the most important part of taking care of those risk factors," she said.

Watch KRCG 13 at 5 p.m. next Friday for our next Family First segment - we'll talk to certified diabetes educator about a helpful method for calculating your risk for diabetes.

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