Health Feature Articles
Diabetes Alert Day
Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension
The American Diabetes Association wants people to find out if they are at risk for diabetes. An annual date has been set so people will set aside time in their schedule to find out. On the fourth Tuesday in March, take the Diabetes Risk Test to see if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Visit the American Diabetes Association website at http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/ to take the risk test online or to download a paper version of the test.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or the body becomes unable to utilize the insulin it makes. Insulin is important because it is essentially the key that unlocks cells to allow the glucose or sugar to go inside. If the glucose cannot get inside the cell, it builds up in the blood and can cause damage.
Anyone who is over the age of 45, under active and overweight should consider themselves at risk for diabetes. You may also be at risk if you have high triglycerides, high cholesterol, you have an immediate family member with diabetes, you had gestational diabetes or you delivered a baby that weighed more than nine pounds.
Some symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, blurred vision, excessive thirst, fatigue or an increased appetite. But do not wait until you have one of these symptoms to see a doctor. It is estimated that there are almost six million people in the United States who have diabetes and don’t know it. That is because people with type 2 diabetes often don’t experience any of these symptoms. Unfortunately, diabetes is often not diagnosed until a person develops one of the serious complications from it which includes heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage or nerve damage.
The good news about type 2 diabetes is that it is very controllable. Once you are diagnosed you can learn about what you need to do to make sure blood sugar levels stay within an acceptable range. You can do that through medications, proper nutrition and exercise.
An early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can make a big difference in your health. Take the risk test to see if it’s time to follow up with your doctor.
Last Updated 03/22/2016