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Doctors Working To Get Out Word On How Americans Can Protect Themselves Against Diabetes

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Diabetes is one of the chronic health conditions that can make you more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The most recent statistics from the CDC show 88 million Americans with prediabetes, which means higher than normal blood sugar levels.

Doctors are working to get out the word on how Americans can protect themselves.

"Prediabetes is a serious health condition that actually puts people at risk for other serious health conditions like heart attack, stroke and, of course, type 2 diabetes," says Dr. Christopher Holliday, director of the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation.

One of the biggest challenges in treating prediabetes is that it usually has no symptoms. Most people don't even know they have it. That's why the CDC and the American Medical Association joined forces with a series of public service announcements to raise awareness.

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Dr. Colette Knight of the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey says lifestyle changes make all the difference, including regular exercise and the right diet. You want to have "a diet that's rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, very little or no processed foods," she says.

Lorna Gooden has a family history of diabetes and knew that she too was at risk. When she went from prediabetic to diabetic, she enrolled in an education program to take control of her health.

"I learned what was triggering my blood sugars to be high. I learned how to do my finger sticks," she said.

Gooden changed her diet, lost weight and turned her diabetes around.

"Anyone that says they have diabetes or they're prediabetic or even if it runs in their family, I say go get checked."

She says education changed her life and she wishes the same for others.

To take a one-minute prediabetes assessment, you can visit The American Diabetes Association recommends that diabetes screening for most adults begins at age 45.

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