Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes. Two thirds of them have been diagnosed. That leaves one third (or about seven million people) who don’t yet know that they have diabetes. Could you be one of them?
Diabetes can lead to serious problems, such as kidney failure, blindness and heart disease. Some of these problems can be prevented, but only if the disease is diagnosed and treated.
Don’t wait for symptoms. Type 2 diabetes may not cause any noticeable symptoms for years. All too often, people only learn they have diabetes when they develop a major complication, such as kidney disease, heart attack or stroke.
A number of factors increase your risk of developing diabetes. You’re more likely to get diabetes if:
- You are overweight
- You are 45 or older
- You have a parent, brother or sister who has diabetes
- You are African American, Native American, Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander
- You have high blood pressure (140/90 or higher)
- You have a cholesterol problem, such as low “good” HDL cholesterol (35 or lower) or high trigylcerides (250 or more)
- You don’t get much exercise (less than three times a week)
- You had gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
If you have any risk factors, talk to your doctor about being tested.
Pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes can often be prevented. Research shows that reducing your body weight by 5 percent to 10 percent can cut your diabetes risk in half.