American Diabetes Alert Day, held the fourth Tuesday of every March (that’s the 28th this year), was established to raise further awareness about the importance of early detection of type 2 diabetes.
More than 37 million Americans are impacted by diabetes – with an additional 1.4 million diagnosed every year. What’s more, approximately 1 in 5 Americans have absolutely no idea they have the disease.
Likewise, upwards of 96 million people over the age of 18 have prediabetes. This condition signifies above-average blood glucose levels that are not quite elevated enough to be diagnosed officially. And more than 8 out of 10 adults with this condition are unaware they have it.
While the risk for diabetes increases as we age, other factors – such as weight and Ethnic background contribute.
Here are just four great ways you can observe this “one-day wake-up call,” while taking steps to ensure a healthier lifestyle.
- Get your blood sugar checked. If you haven’t had your blood sugar checked in a while, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor or healthcare provider. Fasting blood sugar tests are also available at many leading pharmacies. Testing is important as it helps you find out if you have diabetes or are at risk for developing diabetes. The American Diabetes Association risk test is also quick, easy, and – and can help you identify any areas in need of focus, as well as any important lifestyle changes you should consider.
- Learn the symptoms of diabetes. We’ll get you started. Excessive thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss are common symptoms of diabetes. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you are experiencing these symptoms.
- Commit to healthy lifestyle choices. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you A) to prevent type 2 diabetes and B) manage type 2 diabetes if you have already been diagnosed. Choosing foods that are low in sugar, fat, and calories and getting the right amount of fiber each day is critical. Being active means getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (such as jogging) every week.
- Talk to your family about their health history. Diabetes often runs in families, so it’s important to know if anyone in your family has the disease. If so, you may be at higher risk for developing diabetes and can take necessary steps to bolster your health, like making wiser food choices and getting regular screenings.
Diabetes is a serious condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can have a significant impact on the quality of life for those affected, and if left untreated, can lead to serious health complications. While there is no surefire way to prevent diabetes, there are steps one can take to reduce their risk. Talk to your health provider today to get started, and take the American Diabetes Association 60-second risk test here.