Each year, the American Diabetes Association designates a day in March as Diabetes Alert Day. It’s a wake-up call for all of us to find out if we’re at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. And that’s important since 1 out of 4 people with diabetes don’t know they have it!
Every 17 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes. To you, that may sound like just another statistic – but it’s personal for me. I live with someone who has diabetes and wasn’t diagnosed until his late 40s. He’s one of nearly 30 million American children and adults with the disease (10 percent of the U.S. population). Worldwide, nearly 400 million people are living with diabetes.
The bad news: Diabetes can develop at any age for both Type 1 (previously known as juvenile diabetes) and Type 2.
For Type 1, the body doesn’t make enough insulin and there’s no known way to keep it from happening. For Type 2, the body can’t use insulin properly. At least one out of every three of us will develop Type 2 diabetes in our lifetime.
The good news for Type 2: In most cases, it’s preventable.
Are you at risk for Type 2 diabetes?
It only takes minutes to take a Risk Test and answer a few questions about weight, age, family history and other risk factors.
If the test says you’re at increased risk, talk to your doctor. There are several definitive ways to diagnose diabetes.
While there is no cure yet for the disease, you can manage it. From my nearly 10 years of experience living with someone who has diabetes, it’s not that hard. Balancing the food you eat with exercise and medicine (if prescribed) helps control weight and keep blood glucose levels in the healthy range. Many people with diabetes live long and active lives.
You can make an impact for diabetes
There are many charities helping educate us about diabetes, providing services, and working to find a cure. Here are three:
American Diabetes Association: The American Diabetes Association delivers services to hundreds of communities, helps fund research, and is a go-to source for information about diabetes. Raising awareness is one of the organization’s main efforts, guided by its vision of a life free of diabetes and all its burdens.
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation: The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, founded in 1971 by a small group of parents of children with diabetes, has evolved into an international coalition of families, patients, business leaders, celebrities, scientists, clinicians and more. Its sole focus is on finding a biological cure.
Joslin Diabetes Center: In 1898, Elliot P. Joslin, M.D., launched the effort to understand, treat and potentially cure diabetes. He started by taking his written patient observations to the lab to conduct research. Today, Joslin’s research team of more than 300 scientists make it the most comprehensive program dedicated to diabetes in the world.
Want to get involved in diabetes efforts in your community and volunteer? Check out events in your community from American Diabetes Association.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes is currently the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, taking the lives of more Americans every year than AIDs and breast cancer combined. Let’s change that – and give of our time and money to make a difference.