Nearly 6 million Americans don't know they have type 2, experts say
WEDNESDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- About 20 percent of Americans have prediabetes and are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association reports.
"Look around you. We are surrounded by [diabetes] risk," Christine T. Tobin, president of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association, said in a news release. She said that Americans "need to change the future of diabetes now. One of the first steps is to find out if you or a loved one is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes by taking the Diabetes Risk Test. Knowing your risk can be the first step towards stopping this dreadful disease."
The group is urging people to take the Diabetes Risk Test on March 23, the annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day. The test (available at stopdiabetes.com or 1-800-DIABETES) asks participants questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Based on their answers, participants are told whether they're at low, moderate or high risk for diabetes. Those at high risk are encouraged to talk with their doctor.
Major risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being overweight, sedentary, over the age of 45 and having a family history of diabetes. Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are at increased risk, as are women who've had gestational diabetes or have had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth.
Left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage or nerve damage that can lead to amputations.
If current trends continue, about one in three American children born today will develop diabetes. Of the approximately 24 million Americans with diabetes, nearly 6 million have type 2 diabetes and don't know it.
"Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight through 30 minutes of regular physical activity, five days a week and healthy eating," Tobin said. "We encourage everyone to gather their friends, family, loved ones and co-workers, and find ways to live healthier lifestyles today."
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about type 2 diabetes.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: American Diabetes Association, news release, March 10, 2010
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