Tuesday is Diabetes Alert Day

Published 7:04 pm Saturday, March 25, 2017

Most Americans who are at risk for Type 2 diabetes don’t know it, and the only way to learn if you have diabetes is to be screened for it.

The American Diabetes Association is taking this Tuesday as an annual day to bring attention to the problem of Type 2 diabetes.

“American Diabetes Association Alert Day is a one-day annual call to action, where the Association sounds the alarm about the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in America,” said Deanie Eldridge, Virginia area executive director.

Email newsletter signup

An online diabetes risk test is available, in which participants can answer questions about their risk factors, such as age, gender and activity level, to get a numerical score on a range of 1-10 that identifies their overall risk. The risk test can be found at diabetes.org/risktest.

In Virginia, an estimated 12 percent of the adult population lives with diabetes, while another 36 percent has prediabetes, with blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. In areas of Western Tidewater, more than half of adults have diabetes or prediabetes.

The importance of learning about diabetes or prediabetes early, or learning how to prevent the onset of diabetes, if possible, cannot be overstated.

“The serious complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness and death, so early detection, proper medical treatment, and long-term self-management are key,” Eldridge said.

The online risk test is also downloadable in both English and Spanish and takes only about 60 seconds to complete. Of course, only a health care provider can tell you if you do have diabetes or prediabetes, but the risk test can help encourage those most at risk to see their doctor right away.

“You can lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes with healthy food choices, weight-loss exercise and medication, but knowing your risk is the first step,” said Dr. Mack Bonner, president of the local American Diabetes Association Community Leadership Board. “Today, we’re asking Americans to take the one-minute test to find out if they’re at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, and we hope participants will share the test with friends and family.”

An estimated eight million Americans with diabetes are currently undiagnosed. Nine out of 10 people with prediabetes don’t know they have it.

The American Diabetes Association has one of its biggest fundraisers of the year coming up in Suffolk in April.

The 2017 Hampton Roads Tour de Cure will take place April 29, beginning and ending at King’s Fork High School. The route options for the cycling ride are 10, 25, 65 or 100 miles.

There is a $25 registration fee and a $200 fundraising minimum. The fundraising goal is $450,000; so far about $170,400 has been raised.

Visit www.diabetes.org/hamptonroadsvatour for more information about the fundraiser or to volunteer.