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How to see if you’re at risk for diabetes

POSTED: March 18, 2013 7:22 p.m.

In conjunction with the upcoming American Diabetes Association Alert Day, people in Effingham County can take advantage of free tests to see if they have or are at-risk for the disease.


The Diabetes Risk Test and free blood glucose screenings will be offered March 20 from 9 a.m.-12 noon at the Effingham YMCA at 1224 Patriot Drive in Rincon.


For more accurate results on the blood glucose screenings, participants should refrain from eating two hours before being tested. They should consume only water or a diet drink.


The 25th annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day is set for March 26. It 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.


Diabetes strikes nearly 26 million Americans, including more than 702,000 people living in Georgia. Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless steps are taken to stop diabetes, according to ADA.


An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes, meaning their blood glucose (sugar) is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Early intervention through lifestyle changes such as weight loss and increased physical activity can help delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.


Diagnosis often comes seven to 10 years after the onset of the disease, after disabling and even deadly complications have had time to develop. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.


“Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing just seven percent of body weight (such as 15 pounds if you weigh 200) through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating,” said Dave Smith, Community Leadership Board chairman. “The American Diabetes Association hopes that this Alert Day will encourage people to take the Diabetes Risk Test and share it with their loved ones. By understanding your risk, you can take the necessary steps to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.”


To help people better recognize their own risk for type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association provides the Diabetes Risk Test, asking users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risks for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Preventative tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their health care provider.


Although Alert Day is a one-day event, the Diabetes Risk Test is available year-round. It can be accessed free (in English or Spanish) on the American Diabetes Association’s Facebook page, the Web site stopdiabetes.com or by calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).


The primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes are being overweight, sedentary, over the age of 45 and having a family history of diabetes. African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk for developing the disease.

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