| Tue, Mar 26, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

Are You at Risk for Diabetes?

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

medicare diabetesToday is Diabetes Alert Day. What does that mean?

American Diabetes Association Alert Day® is the fourth Tuesday in March each year. It is a one-day “wake-up call” to help increase awareness about diabetes and its risks.

The main message of the day is an invitation to take the Diabetes Risk Test. The test asks simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risks for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. The result tells you your level of risk for developing the disease. You also get important information about preventing diabetes.

Diabetes by the Numbers

Diabetes is a serious disease. Nearly 26 million adults and children in the United States have it, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). A quarter of them—7 million—do not even know it. In addition, 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes. Prediabetes puts you at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Unless we take steps to prevent it, says the ADA, as many as one in three American adults may have diabetes by 2050.

Diabetes Risk Factors

It’s important to know the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. If you are overweight, inactive and over the age of 45, you are likely at risk for the disease. African Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and people with a family history of diabetes also are at risk.

Unfortunately, you can have diabetes for 7 to 10 years before it is even diagnosed. This can mean that disabling and even deadly complications have had time to develop.

Early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of the complications of diabetes. Complications include heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and even death.

Take Charge of Your Health

Studies show that type 2 diabetes may be prevented or delayed by losing just a small percentage of body weight (only 15 pounds if you weigh 200). Regular physical activity—30 minutes a day, five days a week—and healthy eating can help you lose pounds, get healthier and prevent type 2 diabetes.

It’s important to talk with your health care provider about type 2 diabetes. If you are at risk, your provider can help you take steps that may prevent the disease from developing. Be sure to ask about it at your next Medicare Wellness Visit.

For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources

American Diabetes Association: Learn more about diabetes.

CheckUp America: Learn how to lower your risk and help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Medicare.gov: Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.

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