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Diabetes has become the greatest American public health crisis of the next 25 years.
To address the burden of this disease, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is issuing an urgent call-to-action for Americans to find out their risk for type 2 diabetes during the 21st annual American Diabetes Alert Day.
Nearly 6 million Americans have diabetes, but don’t know it.
Another 57 million Americans have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk.
There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 can occur at any age during childhood, but the greatest incidence is in girls ages 10-12 and boys in the 12-14 age groups.
In this kind of diabetes, the pancreas loses the ability to make insulin. People with type 1 diabetes must follow a healthy meal plan and take injections of insulin every day.
Type 2 diabetes most often occurs in people over 40 and in those who are overweight or obese. This type of diabetes can often be controlled through healthful eating, exercise and oral medications.
On American Diabetes Alert Day, held annually on the fourth Tuesday in March, the American Diabetes Association encourages people who are overweight, physically inactive, and over the age of 45 years to take an online diabetes risk test.
The test requires users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
The diabetes risk test will show users if they are at low, moderate or high risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Among the primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes are being overweight, sedentary, over the age of 45 and having a family history of diabetes. Statistics show that blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk.
So are women who had babies weighing more than nine pounds at birth.
Unfortunately, people with type 2 diabetes can live for years without realizing that they have the disease.
While people with diabetes can exhibit noticeable symptoms, such as frequent urination, blurred vision and excessive thirst, most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes do not show these overt warning signs at the time that they develop the disease.
Often, type 2 diabetes only becomes evident when people develop more serious complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage or nerve damage that can lead to amputations.
Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association leads the fight against diabetes and those affected by it. It funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes while providing community services that includes information and patient rights.
For a copy of the diabetes risk test or additional information on diabetes (in English or Spanish), visit www.diabetes.org/alert or call (800) 342-2383.
– Source: American Diabetes Association