American Diabetes Association Alert Day, which is conducted every fourth Tuesday in March, is a one-day wake-up call asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious disease that strikes nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States, and a quarter of them, seven million, do not even know they have it. An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, diagnosis often comes seven to 10 years after the onset of the disease, after disabling and even deadly complications have had time to develop. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.
The association has made a strong commitment to primary prevention of type 2 diabetes by increasing awareness of prediabetes and actively engaging individuals in preventative behaviors like weight loss, physical activity and healthful eating. Alert Day is a singular moment in time in which we can raise awareness and prompt action among the general public, particularly those at risk.
Who should participate in Alert Day?
Everyone should be aware of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. People who are overweight, under active (living a sedentary lifestyle) and over the age of 45 should consider themselves at risk for the disease. African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and people who have a family history of the disease also are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or delayed by losing just 7 percent of body weight (such as 15 pounds if you weigh 200) through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating. By understanding your risk, you can take the necessary steps to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
What will happen on Alert Day?
For 25 years, the American Diabetes Association has set aside one special day for people to learn if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a growing epidemic in the United States, but it can be controlled with knowledge and healthy behavior.
On March, 26, 2013, the Association encourages the public to take the Diabetes Risk Test, as well as to share the test with everyone they care about; friends, family members and colleagues. With each person that takes the test and knows their risk, the Association is that much closer to stopping diabetes.
The Diabetes Risk Test asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risks for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Preventative tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their healthcare provider.