Archive for November, 2010

Family History of Diabetes Increases Risk for Developing the Disease

November 18th, 2010

Family History of Diabetes Increases Risk for Developing the Disease Take Steps Now to Prevent Diabetes in the Future

Knowing about your family’s health history goes a long way toward preventing or delaying the development of serious diseases like diabetes. Many people who develop type-2 diabetes have one or more family members with the disease, so it’s important to know your family’s diabetes health history, and to share that information with your doctor. The good news is that people with a family history of diabetes can take steps now to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. The Martin County Health Department has partnered with the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) to share this message during National Diabetes Awareness Month this November.

“You can’t change your family history, but knowing about it can help you work with your health care team to take action on the things you can change  We encourage everyone to talk with their family members to find out if any close relatives, such as a mother, father, brother or sister, have had diabetes. If any of the women in your family had gestational diabetes while pregnant, she is also at increased risk for diabetes in the future, and so is her child from that pregnancy. This is all important information to share with your doctor.”

The good news is that you can prevent or delay type-2 diabetes by losing a small amount of weight – 5 to 7 percent (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) – and becoming more active. Action steps, which will benefit the entire family, include making healthy food choices and being active at least 30 minutes, five days per week. To help achieve health goals, write down everything you eat and drink, and the number of minutes you are active each day. Review these notes daily.

Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes – including approximately 1,500 Martin Countians. It is estimated that one-third of the people with diabetes don’t know that they have the disease, and people with undiagnosed diabetes may experience damage to the heart, eyes, kidneys, and limbs – without producing any symptoms. It is estimated that another 57 million adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

To learn more about family health history and preventing type-2 diabetes, check out NDEP’s risk tests by visiting or call 1-888-693-NDEP (6337); TTY: 1-866-569-1162. Ask for Your GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, a tip sheet called It’s Never Too Early to Prevent Diabetes, and a tip sheet for children at risk called Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

You may also contact the Martin County Health Department Diabetes Control Program at 606-298-7752 or visit