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Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Check Up on Your Health with New Diabetes Risk Test

March 27 Is American Diabetes Association Alert Day

Nearly 26 million Americans live with diabetes, yet 7 million of these people don’t even know they have the blood sugar disease. To help prevent and diagnose diabetes in all Americans, March 27 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, a call for people nationwide to take the new Diabetes Risk Test to determine if they are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 percent of cases and is on the rise in the United States.

This year’s 24th Annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day offers a more accurate Diabetes Risk Test and Facebook access. Participants are encouraged to take the test and share the free questionnaire with their social networks.

More than 600,000 people took the Diabetes Risk Test in 2011, and the American Diabetes Association hopes to surpass that number this year through the Alert Day’s “Take It. Share It.” theme.

Right at Home of Santa Barbara encourages everyone of all ages to take the new Diabetes Risk Test,” owner Larry Kreider said. “The questions are simple and quick, and you can participate with family members, friends, classmates and work colleagues to protect your health together.”

An estimated 79 million Americans — one in three U.S. children and adults — have pre-diabetes, higher than normal blood sugar, which puts them at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Generally, diagnosis occurs seven to 10 years after onset of the disease, leaving many people with debilitating and deadly complications, such as heart and kidney disease, blindness, stroke and amputation.

Often, people with Type 2 diabetes have no symptoms of the disease, but common symptoms can include:

» Frequent urination

» Unusual thirst

» Extreme hunger

» Unusual weight loss

» Extreme fatigue and irritability

» Frequent infections (particularly skin, gum or bladder)

» Blurred vision

» Cuts/bruises that heal slowly

» Tingling or numbness in the hands/feet

The ADA works to prevent and cure diabetes, and the new Diabetes Risk Test asks basic questions about age, weight, family history and other potential risks for pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Participants receive preventive tips, and those at high risk are encouraged to talk with their health-care provider.

Leading risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight, sedentary, over age 45 and having a family history of diabetes. Individuals in the following population segments face increased possibility for undiagnosed diabetes:

» Older Americans — diabetes risks increase with age. One out of every four Americans age 65 or older has diabetes.

» Certain ethnic populations including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.

» Women who have had a baby of nine pounds or more at birth.

Individuals can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes through:

» A healthy weight — losing just 7 percent of body weight (15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) helps control diabetes.

» Regular physical activity — exercise helps lower blood glucose and can decrease the need for insulin or diabetes pills.

» Healthy eating — Diabetes.org offers meal and snack guidelines and flavorful recipes for diabetics and those prone to the disease.

The ADA’s local offices are working with community organizations to promote Diabetes Alert Day. In addition to the March 27 event, the Diabetes Risk Test is available in English and Spanish year-round at StopDiabetes.com or by calling 800.DIABETES.

— Larry Kreider is the owner of Right at Home of Santa Barbara. For more information, click here, call 805.962.0555 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Sign up for Right at Home’s free adult caregiving eNewsletter, Caring Right at Home.

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