Health: Tuesday is your ‘wake-up call’ to test for your risk for diabetes

By Debbie Bell/Franklin Co. Health Dept., Published:

American Diabetes Association (ADA) Alert Day, which is held every fourth Tuesday in March, is a one-day “wake-up call” asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

The tagline for the 26th Annual ADA Alert Day will be “Take it. Share it. Step Out.” It not only encourages the public to take the risk test and share it, but it asks them to start living a healthy and active lifestyle.

Diabetes strikes nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States, and a quarter of them — seven million — do not even know they have it. An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Unfortunately, diagnosis often comes seven to 10 years after the onset of the disease, after disabling and even deadly complications have had time to develop. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.

In Kentucky, more than 400,000 people have diabetes and 1 million are at risk for developing it.

Who should participate?

Everyone should be aware of the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. People who are overweight, under active (living a sedentary lifestyle) and over the age of 45 should consider themselves at risk for the disease. African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and people with a family history of the disease also are at an increased risk.

Studies have shown that Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or delayed by losing just 7 percent of body weight (such as 15 pounds if you weigh 200) through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating. By understanding your risk, you can take the necessary steps to help prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a growing epidemic in the United States, but it can be controlled with knowledge and healthy behavior.

Free class Tuesday

The Franklin County Health Department (FCHD) will be observing this important health observance by offering a free Diabetes Self-Management Class from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday at the Franklin County Public Health Center.

The program will include information on acute and chronic diabetes complications, healthy coping and goal setting for optimal blood sugar management, healthy meal planning including a nutrition demonstration and diabetes-friendly lunch, sick-day rules and much more.

A copy of the Diabetes Risk Test will be available to participants. The first 10 participants to register will receive a free blood sugar monitor donated by Dr. Brian Schulz of Lawrenceburg Chiropractic Center.

Other ways one can obtain the Association’s Diabetes Risk Test and additional information about diabetes:

Get your free Diabetes Risk Test (English or Spanish), as well as information about diabetes by visiting www.stopdiabetes.com or by calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Walgreens is supporting the American Diabetes Association Alert Day efforts and you can ask your local Walgreens pharmacist for a copy of the Diabetes Risk Test. Although Alert Day is a one-day event, the Diabetes Risk Test is available year-round.

Don’t forget to “Take It. Share It. Step Out.” starting on Alert Day Tuesday. Contact Debbie Bell by email at debbiey.bell@ky.gov or by phone at 502-564-5559 to register for the free Diabetes Self-Management Education Program or to obtain your free copy of the Diabetes Risk Test.

Source: American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/alert-day

Submitted by Debbie Bell, Registered and Licensed Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Health Educator III, Franklin County Health Department, 851 East-West Connector.

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