March 17, 2011
On March 22, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) will sound the alert to the 60 million Americans who are unaware they have diabetes or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The ADA’s Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day, wake-up call to inform the public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated. For many, diagnosis may come seven to ten years after the onset of the disease. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.
On Diabetes Alert Day, March 22, anyone can come to Fort Memorial Hospital to have a free blood glucose screening and have their risk for diabetes assessed by certified diabetes educators from Fort HealthCare’s ADA-recognized program for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
The diabetes education program is available to help both newly diagnosed and those who have been living with diabetes. As part of the diabetic education program at Fort HealthCare, individuals with diabetes and those who support them can attend support groups, speakers and one-on-one sessions.
Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be delayed and even prevented by making simple changes in your lifestyle. Knowing your risk for type 2 diabetes is the first step to a healthier lifestyle. American Diabetes Alert Day encourages those at risk for developing type 2 diabetes to take the American Diabetes Risk Test and, if they score high, to schedule an appointment to see their doctor. The risk test is available at www.StopDiabetes.com. Currently, 23.6 million Americans are living with diabetes and an additional one in three, are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Nearly 21 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and one third of them are unaware they have the disease. Another 54 million Americans have pre-diabetes, a condition that puts them at serious risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Among the primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes are being overweight, sedentary, over the age of 45 and having a family history of diabetes. African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk, as are women who have had babies weighing more than nine pounds at birth.
People with type 2 diabetes can live for years without realizing that they have the disease. While people with diabetes can exhibit noticeable symptoms, such as frequent urination, blurred vision and excessive thirst, most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes do not show these overt warning signs at the time that they develop the disease. Often, type 2 diabetes only becomes evident when people develop one or more of its serious complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage, and nerve damage that can lead to amputations. Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death by disease and currently has no cure, which is why early detection and treatment is so vitally important.
To learn more, call the Diabetes Education Office at (920) 568-5247 or visit FortHealthCare.com/Diabetes.