News | Published March 9, 2012 | Written by Rose Villarreal, MS, PA-C, director of the Mount Nittany Health Diabetes Network

Could you be at risk for diabetes?

Learn your risk for developing type 2 diabetes today by taking the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) updated diabetes risk test. An online version of this updated risk test will be launched on the 24th Annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day® - March 27, 2012. By asking people to take the diabetes risk test to learn their chance of developing type 2 diabetes, Diabetes Alert Day acts as a wake-up call for all of society.

Are you one of the 79 million people - or one in three adults - in the United States with prediabetes? Likely, you do not even know. A large number of people with prediabetes do not realize they have the condition that puts them at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Other risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include:

  • Being age 45 or older
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Not getting enough physical activity
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having abnormal cholesterol (lipid) levels
  • Having had gestational diabetes
  • Having had a baby weighing 9 pounds or more at birth

In addition, certain ethnic groups are at increased risk, including African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders and Alaska Natives.

One-quarter of the people in the United States who have diabetes do not know they have this disease, either. Often, diagnosis occurs seven to 10 years after the onset of diabetes as a result of disabling or even deadly complications that have developed. Poorly managed diabetes leads to serious complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, amputation, kidney disease, psychosocial distress and nerve damage. Thus, early diagnosis and proper management are critical to preventing or delaying complications.

The good news is that type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or delayed with increased physical activity, healthy eating, weight management and sometimes medication. Visit stopdiabetes.com or call 1.800.DIABETES (1.800.342.2383), or click on the above link to access the test year-round. It consists of simple questions about age, weight, family history and other potential risk factors for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, and it only takes a minute to complete. Please share your results of this test with your healthcare provider to determine if more testing is needed, as well as to develop a plan to lower your risk. In addition, urge family members, friends and colleagues to take the diabetes risk test as a way to protect their own health.

For more information about diabetes, including our diabetes education classes and support groups, please visit mountnittany.org or diabetes.org.

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