The American Diabetes Association Alert Day is a one-day wake-up call asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease that strikes nearly 24 million children and adults in the U.S. In addition, 57 million Americans – one in five – have pre-diabetes, a condition that puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. While diabetes can be treated, its complications are serious and potentially life-threatening, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke or amputation.
Diabetes is called a “silent killer” because nearly one quarter of people with the disease – 5.7 million – do not know they have it. Many people live with the disease for seven to ten years before they are diagnosed.
Diabetes can be especially harmful if left untreated. The key is to know your risks. If you are overweight, not active, and older than 45, consider yourself in danger of developing diabetes. Other risk factors include family history and certain ethnic backgrounds including African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander.
How can I find out if I’m at risk?
Take the Diabetes Risk Test. It’s free and available in English and Spanish. Call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383)
You can learn much more at http://www.stopdiabetes.org.
Can I avoid diabetes?
“Diabetes and its complications can be prevented,” says Debbe Zietlow, RN, CDE, diabetes program manager at RVMC. Large studies have shown that basic lifestyle improvements can prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. And for people already diagnosed with the disease, there is good news. “Those same lifestyle improvements plus appropriate and timely medical care have been shown to drastically reduce the complications associated with having diabetes, Debbe says. “This is one medical condition where a little effort can go a long way towards good health.”
(From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
For people with prediabetes, lifestyle changes, including a 5%–7% weight loss and at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, can reduce the rate of onset of type 2 diabetes by 58%.
Blood pressure control reduces the risk for heart disease and stroke among people with diabetes by 33%–50%.
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
Inactive lifestyle, exercising fewer than 3 times a week.
Over 45 years old
Blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or above.
Abnormal cholesterol levels, especially if good cholesterol (HDL) is low and triglycerides are high.
Family history of diabetes, especially if immediate an family member has diabetes.
Personal or family history of cardiovascular disease.
You are Alaska Native, American Indian, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
Had gestational diabetes.
Impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).
Insulin resistance or related conditions.
23.6 million people in the United States (7.8% of the total population) have diabetes. Of these, 5.7 million have undiagnosed diabetes.
In 2007, about 1.6 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people aged 20 years or older.
African American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska Native adults are twice as likely as white adults to have diabetes.
If current trends continue, 1 in 3 Americans will develop diabetes sometime in their lifetime, and those with diabetes will lose, on average, 10–15 years of life.
Diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death on U.S. death certificates in 2006.
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Asante Health System is a non-profit organization providing advanced medical care to over 550,000 people in Southern Oregon and Northern California. It includes Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford and Three Rivers Community Hospital in Grants Pass.