Got a minute to spare? Today is the American Diabetes Association's Alert Day, a one-day “wake-up call” in which people can find out if they’re at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes by taking a simple eight question test.
It may be the easiest test you’ve ever taken. And one of the most important. (Like the ADA on Facebook! You can take the test there too.)
You see, although about 24 million Americans have diabetes, nearly 25% don't know it.
Diabetes causes more deaths each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined, according to the American Diabetes Association.
If that’s not reason enough to check your risk, what is? But if you need more convincing, read on for four more:
Diabetes often causes no symptoms at all
They call diabetes a silent killer for a reason. Blood sugar acts like a toxic poison in the body, but it can creep higher and higher and you may never feel it. Some people do get type 2 diabetes symptoms such as increased urination, weight loss, and blurry vision when blood sugar gets into the danger zone (very high blood sugar can put you into a coma), but many people with the disease experience no symptoms at all. So don't wait until you feel sick to get checked.
Testing for diabetes is easy
With many possible ways to get tested, most of them simple blood tests, it’s easy to find out if you have diabetes. Take charge of your health by finding out if you're at risk, and getting tested if you are.
Catching it early makes a BIG difference
If you have prediabetes you can sometimes delay or prevent outright diabetes by changing your lifestyle. Prediabetes, which is serious in and of itself, is a condition in which blood sugar is elevated (and thus can damage the body), but isn't high enough to qualify for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. It's very common--about one in three adults has prediabetes (79 million people in the U.S.!). The good news is that healthy eating and becoming more physically active can lower the chances of prediabetes progressing to diabetes.
You have a wide variety of ways to stay healthy
If you find out you have type 2 diabetes, don’t panic. Use these 5 steps to learn how to follow up after your diagnosis. There are a wide variety of new medications on the market, as well as new research on the best ways to lower your blood sugar. You can often treat diabetes with lifestyle changes and oral medication. While people with type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune disease) require insulin to survive, people with type 2 often don't take insulin. Controlling your blood sugar--whether with diet, exercise, or medication--can dramatically reduce your risk of complications and problems.