Today is American Diabetes Alert Day!

The fourth Tuesday of every March has been deemed American Diabetes Association Alert Day®, a one-day “wake-up call” to the American public asking them to take the Diabetes Risk Test (available in English and Spanish) to see if they’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

By answering a few simple questions about your age, weight, family history, and other potential risk factors, you can find out if you’re at a low or high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You’ll also receive preventative information to help you reduce your risk moving forward.

Alert Day may be a one-day event, but the test is available year-round and the campaign continues through April 25, 2014. Even if you already suspect that you’re at a low or high risk, please take the 60 seconds out of your day to take the test, as Boar’s Head Brand® will donate $5 to the American Diabetes Association for each test taken March 25 – April 25, 2014, up to $50,000.

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes

In addition to taking the test to assess your personal risk, the campaign encourages you to share the test with loved ones and start living a healthy and active lifestyle by joining a local Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes event.

Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes is the signature fundraising walk of the American Diabetes Association, with 73% of proceeds going towards research, information, advocacy, and public awareness events. You can register as an individual or team, and while there isn’t a fundraising minimum per se, each person needs to raise between $100-$150 to earn a t-shirt (there are gift incentives if you raise more). Walks talk place all year round and are typically 3 miles long, although they can range from 2.5-6 miles. Click here to find local Step Out events in your area.

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects 26 million children and adults in the U.S. (90-95% have type 2), and yet a quarter of them do not even know they have diabetes. Another estimated 79 million, or 1 in 3 people, have prediabetes, which is a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. For more information on diabetes, and the link between type 2 diabetes and cancer, check out our blog post from November marking American Diabetes Month.

Good management of diabetes from the onset can significantly help treat, delay, and prevent many complications (e.g., heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, amputation, death), however most people aren’t diagnosed with type 2 diabetes until 7-10 years after the onset of the disease. That’s why raising awareness of diabetes and its risk factors, adopting a preventative healthy lifestyle, and early detection are all so important.

Diabetes Risk Factors

While type 2 diabetes can strike anyone, there are some risk factors that put you at a higher risk:

But don’t get too discouraged if you have one (or more) of these risk factors and/or you receive a high risk score on the Diabetes Risk Test. There’s a lot you can do to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes, such as losing just 7% of your current body weight (weight x 0.07 = X pounds to lose) through 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week and healthier eating.

More Information

You can learn more about diabetes and the American Diabetes Association Alert Day by visiting the American Diabetes Association website, going on Facebook, or by calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).

Caryn Huneke

Caryn Huneke is completing her dietetic internship and MS degree in Nutrition Education at Teachers College, Columbia University to become a Registered Dietitian.

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