Portland, OR — March 27 is the 24th Annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day, a one-day “wake-up call” asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test at diabetes.org/alert to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
In 2011, the American Diabetes Association encouraged Americans to “Join the Million Challenge” and more than 600,000 people took the Diabetes Risk Test. On March 27, the Association will aim to top that number, inspiring people to take the all-new Diabetes Risk Test and to join the Association in the fight to stop diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious disease that strikes nearly 26 million Americans including 343,517 in Oregon and SW Washington. A quarter of those affected by diabetes are not aware that they have the disease. Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take the steps to Stop Diabetes.
An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes — including 592,000 in Oregon and 84,204 in Clark County — which means that their blood glucose (sugar) is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Early intervention via lifestyle changes such as weight loss and increased physical activity can help delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association iis taking the opportunity of Alert Day to help identify those who are undiagnosed and those at risk for type 2 diabetes, by educating people about diabetes risk factors and warning signs.
Unfortunately, diagnosis often comes 7 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 7 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 Andrea Bruno, Executive Director of the American Diabetes Association of Oregon & SW Washington. “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 new 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. You can get your free Diabetes Risk Test (English or Spanish) on Facebook, 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.