In observance of Diabetes Alert Day (March 22), the National Diabetes Education Program and the Henry County Extension Service are encouraging people to take NDEP’s diabetes risk test at: ndep.nih.gov/resources/ResourceDetail.aspx?ResId=252 to find out if you are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes. It is estimated that nearly one-third of people with diabetes do not know they have the disease. An estimated 79 million adults are estimated to have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing the disease.
Diabetes is a serious disease, particularly when it is left undiagnosed or untreated. Everyone should be aware of their risk for diabetes. If you have a family history of diabetes – such as a mother, father, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes – or if you had diabetes during pregnancy – you need to know that you are at increased risk.
Other risk factors for diabetes include being overweight, physically inactive, and being over the age of 45. Diabetes also is more common in African Americans, people of African ancestry, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians, Alaska natives, Asian Americans, and Pacific islanders.
If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and even death. With early diagnosis and treatment, people with diabetes can delay or prevent the development of these health problems.
If you are at risk for diabetes, the good news is that you can take action now to lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by making – and maintaining – healthy lifestyle changes. Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing a small amount of weight – five to seven percent (10-14 pounds for a 200-pound person) – and becoming more active. Action steps include making healthy food choices and being active at least 30 minutes, five days per week. One way to help people achieve their health goal is to write down everything they eat and drink and the number of minutes they are active each day. They should review their notes daily.
For more resources check out the website, www.YourDiabetesInfo.org. Also visit the website to learn how to order materials, such as the following: Your GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, the It’s Never Too Early to Prevent Diabetes tip sheet, and Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes tip sheet for children at risk for diabetes. All of the materials listed above are available in English and Spanish.
Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.