March 23d is Diabetes Alert Day. Why do we need to be alerted about diabetes? Because some 5.7 million people in the US live with diabetes and don’t know it, and 1 in 4 adults in the US have at least an earlier stage of diabetes called pre-diabetes, and most also don’t know it.If you are sitting in a room with 3 other people, which one of you is “it”? And if you don’t know, is it not time to find out?It is recommended that all people over the age of 45 get a blood test for diabetes every 3 years, no matter how fit and healthy they think they are. Everybody. And those of us who are at higher risk – because of being overweight, or having diabetes in the family, having high blood pressure, diabetes during pregnancy or a baby over 8lbs – those with risk factors should be tested every 3 years even before the age of 45.In that room with 3 other people it’s common to think – not I. Except I found out a couple of years ago that it is I; I have pre-diabetes. Despite of the fact that I have always exercised several times per week and that there is no diabetes in my family. What is pre-diabetes? Part of a larger problem often referred to as Insulin Resistance – now the leading cause in this country of diabetes, but also of infertility among women, heart attacks, strokes, liver failure and cancer. What am I doing about my pre-diabetes? I have taken steps to try to prevent actual diabetes and all the other problems. And the steps I have taken include both changes in my lifestyle, and taking medications. Knowledge is power – when you know you have a problem, you can do something about it.Want to know more about Insulin Resistance and pre-diabetes? Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Institute for Diabetes and Obesity and People Centre’d on Diabetes will be cosponsoring a community discussion, “Stopping Sugar Before It Stops You: Advice from Pre-Diabetes Experts”. The talk will be held Monday March 22nd at 6:30pm in the Galen and Nancy Dreibelbis Auditorium at Mount Nittany Medical Center. I’ll be one of the experts, but there will be others. Are you that 1 in 4? Isn’t it high time you were tested?And – because of a new approach to testing for diabetes introduced last year – testing for diabetes and pre-diabetes no longer requires fasting. A simple blood test called the Hemoglobin A1c can be done any time of day and can be used to diagnose diabetes or to give you information on your risk for diabetes. Isn’t it about time you were tested? The first 20 people who come to the talk can take advantage of free testing that evening by giving a finger-stick blood sample. If you’re interested in being tested please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and plan to arrive an hour before the talk starts. Or give your doctor’s office a call and ask to have your Hemoglobin A1c tested there.Knowledge is power – get tested. Even the expert diabetes doctor can be that 1 in 4.Dr. Jan Ulbrecht is a diabetes expert who co-directs the Penn State Institute of Diabetes and Obesity and is a member of People Centre’d on Diabetes (http://www.pcod.info/). He works with patients with and at risk for diabetes at Centre Medical Surgical Associates in State College. He is also on staff at Mount Nittany Medical Center.