Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes? Find out

April 12, 2011 

  • Among the primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes:

  • Being overweight

  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle

  • Being over the age of 45

  • Having a family history of diabetes

  • Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, women who had gestational diabetes and women who have had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth have an increased risk.

The American Diabetes Association is rallying a target of 1 million people to take the Diabetes Risk Test through April 22 in hopes of identifying thousands who might be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

The test, which can be taken by telephone or on the Internet, asks participants to answer a few questions about their weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors. It's followed up with correspondence from the ADA that will address specific needs of each participant.

"The test enables callers to determine whether they are at low, moderate or high risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes," said Elizabeth Huggins, a certified diabetes educator and Hilton Head Hospital's diabetes education coordinator. "Those at high risk will be encouraged to talk with their health care provider for further testing."

DIABETES BY THE NUMBERS

Diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans. Another 79 million American adults have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. If current trends continue, one in three American adults will have diabetes by 2050.

"Unfortunately, people with type 2 diabetes can live for years without realizing that they have the disease," Huggins said.

People with diabetes can exhibit noticeable symptoms, such as frequent urination, blurred vision and excessive thirst, but most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes do not show these warning signs at the time they develop the disease.

Often, type 2 diabetes only becomes evident when people develop serious complications ancillary to the disorder, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage or nerve damage that can lead to amputations.

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH

Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing 7 percent of body weight through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating. By understanding your risk, you can take the necessary steps to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

TAKE THE TEST

Huggins said area residents can get the free Diabetes Risk Test (English or Spanish) by one of three ways:

  • Call 800-DIABETES (800-342-2383)

  • Go to www.StopDiabetes.com

  • Text "JOIN" to 69866 (standard data and message rates apply)

    Hilton Head Hospital and the Beaufort-Okatie Outpatient Center host a diabetes self management clinic. For more information on the clinic, contact Huggins at 843-682-7348.

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