On American Diabetes Alert Day (March 28), identify which risk factors you can minimize
The American Diabetes Association created an awareness day in 1986 to help educate Americans about type 2 diabetes—the most common form of this disease. The association has been focused on prevention efforts ever since. You can support this effort by evaluating your own risk factors, according to the topics listed below, and talking to your friends, coworkers, and family members about what they know about the disease.
About type 2 diabetes
People with diabetes have hyperglycemia, which is when blood glucose (sugar) levels rise to levels that are higher than normal. This results from the body not being able to use insulin properly (called insulin resistance). Insulin is produced by the pancreas to regulate blood glucose, but in diabetics the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to do the job.
What to look for
One way to identify type 2 diabetes in American adults by taking the American Diabetes Association Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test. The free, anonymous risk test only takes a minute to complete. Here are some of the factors the test will evaluate:
- past history of gestational diabetes (in women)
- a sibling or a parent with diabetes
- history of high blood pressure
- level of physical activity
- body weight
The quiz rates you on a scale for each of these factors and determines your risk factor. Of course, these are just guidelines, and you should consult a doctor to determine whether you should undergo additional testing. This may not result in a formal diagnosis of either diabetes or prediabetes. (In prediabetics, blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be officially diagnosed as diabetic.) But it can help you to focus on aspects of your lifestyle that can affect your health.
Statistically, type 2 diabetes is more common among certain racial and ethnic groups, including:
- African Americans
- Native Americans
- Asian Americans
- Native Hawaiians
- Pacific Islanders.
What you can do
Since we know that higher body weight increases the risk of diabetes, the best thing to do it to eat a healthy diet (with lots of lean proteins, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables) and exercise regularly. (If you are having a hard time fitting in exercise, here are some suggestions.)
We hope that you will spread the word on American Diabetes Alert Day, and use what you’ve learned to bring knowledge to those around you.
This article is part of the Salter School’s weekly blog. We are dedicated to the health and well being of all our students. For more information about our various career training programs, reach out to us.