(The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
American Diabetes Association Alert Day, observed annually on the 4th Tuesday in March, is a one-day wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated. Diabetes Alert Day 2016 is on Tuesday, March 22.
Diabetes affects more than 29 million Americans or about 9 percent of the United States population. It’s also estimated that one in every four persons with diabetes is unaware that they have the disease. Did you know that if you have a family history of diabetes, you have a greater chance of getting the type 2 diabetes? That means if you have a mother, father, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes, you have a greater chance of getting the disease.
There are many factors that increase your risk for diabetes. To find out about your risk, note each item on this list that applies to you.
• I am 45 years of age or older.
• I am overweight or obese.
• I have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes.
• My family background is African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander.
• I have had diabetes while I was pregnant (this is called gestational diabetes) or I gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.
• I have been told that my blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are higher than normal.
• My blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, or I have been told that I have high blood pressure.
• My cholesterol (lipid) levels are not normal. My HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) is less than 35 or my triglyceride level is higher than 250.
• I am fairly inactive. I am physically active less than three times a week.
• I have been told that I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
• The skin around my neck or in my armpits appears dirty no matter how much I scrub it. The skin appears dark, thick and velvety. This is called acanthosis nigricans
• I have been told that I have blood vessel problems affecting my heart, brain, or legs.
If you have any of the items above, be sure to talk with your health care team about your risk for diabetes and whether you should be tested.
To take the free Diabetes Risk Test (English or Spanish) visit http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/ (you may take the test on-line or print and complete a paper copy.)
The diabetes educators at your local health department are ready to help you take the first steps to prevent as well as manage diabetes – just call the local health department and ask to speak to the diabetes educator! You may also find more information on our website at www.lcdhd.org/diabetes/ or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LCDHD or Twitter: www.twitter.com/LCDHD .