2009-03-19 / Health

March 24 is diabetes 'Alert Day'

Sound the alert: Are you or a loved one at risk for diabetes?

That's the message the American Diabetes Association is broadcasting on national Alert Day, a one-day wake-up call slated for March 24.

The annual event is meant "to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes," said Stephanie Riemer Matuzak, CEO of Mercy Hospital Grayling.

"We encourage everyone in our area to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they, or their loved ones, are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes," she said. "Early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment, which for many means delaying or even preventing complications like heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, and amputation."

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 24 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes, 25 percent of which are unaware they have it. One in fiveAmericans is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, meaning they have two or more of the following risk factors:

• Overweight

• High blood pressure/high cholesterol

• Underactive (living a sedentary lifestyle)

• Over the age of 45

• Family history of the disease

• African-American, Hispanic or Native American

On Alert Day, the American Diabetes Association will encourage the public to take the Diabetes Risk Test, a list of simple questions about weight, age, family history, and other potential risk factors for diabetes. The Diabetes Risk Test shows users whether they are at low, moderate, or high risk for diabetes. If they are at high risk, they are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their health care provider.

"There are many risk factors related to diabetes," said Rhonda Haske, RN, BSN, CDE and Program Coordinator/ Educator for Mercy Hospital Grayling. "Your family history, race, weight, activity level, age, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure put you at risk. We hope that everyone in this region takes a moment to take this simple test."

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