Diabetes Alert Day set for Tuesday

Published 9:32 pm Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hundreds of people in Suffolk might have Type 2 diabetes and not know it, and many more could be at risk without realizing it.

That’s why the American Diabetes Association is encouraging everyone to take the diabetes risk test to learn about his risk for developing the disease. The organization also is holding screenings in Norfolk on Tuesday, which has been designated Diabetes Alert Day.

The risk test, available online, asks simple questions about weight, age, family history and other risk factors. The screenings, provided free by Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Strelitz Diabetes Center, will check for high blood pressure — a diabetes risk factor — and take a small amount of blood to check for high blood sugar, cholesterol and other factors that indicate diabetes.

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In Suffolk, folks can visit a Farm Fresh or Walgreens pharmacy between 4 and 6 p.m. on Tuesday to take the test in person and discuss their risk with a professional.

Nationwide, about seven million people have diabetes but don’t know it. An additional 79 million have pre-diabetes, which puts them at high risk of developing the disease.

Those who understand their risk factors can take action to change the ones that can be changed, according to the American Diabetes Association. Studies have shown that Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or delayed by losing just seven percent of body weight through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating.

According to the association, people who are overweight, over the age of 45 and live a sedentary lifestyle should consider themselves at risk for the disease. The risk greatly increases for blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, Asians and Pacific Islanders and those with a parent or sibling with the disease.

The diabetes risk test can be accessed at www.diabetes.org/risktest.

For the free screening, go to Dominion Towers, 999 Waterside Drive in Norfolk, between 1 and 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

For more information, visit www.diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES.