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In observance of Diabetes Alert Day (March 22), the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) and Three Rivers District Health Department are encouraging people to take NDEP’s Diabetes Risk Test, which can be found at http://ndep.nih.gov/resources/ResourceDetail.aspx?ResId=252 — available in English and Spanish — to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, including 318,000 people in Kentucky. It is estimated that nearly one-third of the people with diabetes do not know that 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,” Katie Gilson of Owen County Health Center said. “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 people of African ancestry, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Alaskan 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 — 5 to 7 percent (e.g., 10 to 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.
Additionally, Three Rivers District Health Department can provide you with information and classes for people with diabetes and their caregivers. For more information, call Katie Gilson at (502) 484-5736.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Healthand the Centers for Disease Control.