Millions of Americans Have Diabetes and Don’t Know It

March 22nd, 2011 by mike Leave a reply »

Millions of Americans Have Diabetes and Don’t Know It

On Diabetes Alert Day, Take Action to Learn Your Risk

In observance of Diabetes Alert Day (March 22), the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) and the Martin County Health Department are encouraging people to take NDEP’s Diabetes Risk Test at http://ndep.nih.gov/resources/ResourceDetail.aspx?ResId=252   to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes – including an estimated 1,300 Martin Countians.  It is estimated that nearly one-third of the people with diabetes do not know that they have the disease.  An estimated 79 million adults are estimated to have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing the disease.

According to the NDEP, “Diabetes is a serious disease, particularly when it is left undiagnosed or untreated.  Everyone should be aware of their risk for diabetes.  If you have a family history of diabetes – such as a mother, father, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes – or if you had diabetes during pregnancy – you need to know that you are at increased risk. 

Other risk factors for diabetes include being overweight, physically inactive, and being over the age of 45. Diabetes also is more common in African Americans, people of African Ancestry, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation, and even death.  With early diagnosis and treatment, people with diabetes can delay or prevent the development of these health problems.

If you are at risk for diabetes, the good news is that you can take action now to lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by making – and maintaining – healthy lifestyle changes.

Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed 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 include making healthy food choices and being active at least 30 minutes, five days per week. One way to help people achieve their health goal is to write down everything they eat and drink and the number of minutes they are active each day. They should review their notes daily.

The Martin County Health Department will be offering a Diabetes Self-Management course in June.  Call the health department at 298-7752 to register for the course.

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