Are you at risk for Type 2 diabetes?

March 24 is Diabetes Alert Day. Do you know your diabetic risks?

Diabetes is a very serious disease that can lead to many health problems. Being unaware that you have diabetes or being diagnosed but not following your treatment plan puts you at an increased risk of severe complications. This includes: heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, becoming blind and nerve damage. The American Diabetes Association encourages you to take the Diabetes Risk Test the fourth Tuesday of March – Diabetes Alert Day.

Type 2 diabetes is increasing in numbers. In Michigan, about 10 percent of adults have diabetes and about twice that number are pre-diabetic. Many doctors attribute this increase to the rising number of Americans who are obese, the increasing amount of meals eaten away from home and a lack of physical activity.

Here are some factors that might increase your risk of developing diabetes:

  • Age: as we grow older, our risk of developing diabetes increases.
  • Ethnic background: some ethnic groups are at a higher risk for diabetes. These groups include African-American, Asian, Hispanic and Latinos and Native Americans.
  • Weight: people who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing diabetes.
  • Physical activity: people who spend most of their time sitting and get very little physical activity are at higher risk of developing diabetes.
  • High blood pressure: the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases with high blood pressure.
  • Genes: if you have a family member who has diabetes—mother, father, sister, brother—you have an increased risk of developing diabetes.

You can find out if you’re at risk for developing diabetes. The National Diabetes Education Program recommends taking the Diabetes Risk Test. This short test which is easy to score will let you know if you are at risk. The good news is that if your score is high, there are steps to take to lower your risk.

Michigan State University Extension offers the National Diabetes Prevention Program. This program will help you take steps to lower your risk by losing five to seven percent of your total weight and by increasing the amount of physical activity you engage in each week.

Don’t let undiagnosed diabetes put you at risk of developing complications. Take the Diabetes Risk test today. Your health depends on it!

Contact your local MSU Extension office for more information about the National Diabetes Prevention Program and for other information on achieving a healthy lifestyle.

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