Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes in One Minute
Are you at risk for Type 2 Diabetes? It is important that you know, as uncontrolled disease can lead to many serious health issues. The American Diabetes Association offers a test, that takes only one minute to complete, for you to assess your current risk and help you identify areas in your life to change in order to reduce your risk.
Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting almost 26 million adults and children in the United States. There is also a condition known as “prediabetes” – once called borderline diabetes” in which blood glucose levels are elevated, but not quite high enough for an official diagnosis. This condition is dangerous as well – especially since 90% of those with prediabetes don’t even know they have it.
Complications from having high blood sugar include a greater risk of heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, and nervous system disease (neuropathy).
Knowledge is power. “The more people who take this first step in knowing their risk, the closer we will become to stopping this disease that has reached epidemic proportions,” states Lurelean B. Gaines, RN MSN, President of Health Care & Education at the American Diabetes Association. “The time to act is now. Taking one quick minute to learn your risk today could lead to a much healthier tomorrow.”
Take this Diabetes Risk Test and if your score is 5 or above, take the results to your physician to find out what your next steps are for preventing future health problems.
1. How old are You?
Older age increases the risk for diabetes. Of those with the condition, 26.9% are over the age of 65. For years, the reason was unknown, but Yale researchers in 2010 reported that 2 conditions associated with aging - reduced muscle mitochondrial activity plus increased muscle fat - increased the chances of insulin resistance.
If you are less than 40 years, score 0 points for this category. 40—49 years: add 1 point, 50—59 years add 2 points, and 60 years or older add 3 points.
2. Are you a man or woman?
Men have a slightly higher risk of diabetes. Obesity is one factor that increases the risk for Type 2 diabetes, but researchers with Glasgow University found that men developed the disease at a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than women. This is because when men gain weight, they tend to gain in the abdominal region, around their internal organs.
Men score 1 point here.
3. If you are a woman, have you ever been diagnosed with gestational diabetes?
During pregnancy – usually around the 24th week – some women develop gestational diabetes, meaning the condition has only occurred since you conceived. It is estimated that gestational diabetes affects 18% of pregnancies. Gestational diabetes not only increases the mother’s chance of later developing Type 2 diabetes, but also increases the baby’s chances as well.
If you were diagnosed with gestational diabetes during a pregnancy (or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more), score 1 point.
4. Do you have a mother, father, sister, or brother with diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes has a stronger link to family history than Type 1 diabetes. However, even if you do have the condition running in your family, it is possible to prevent the disease by controlling environmental risk factors such as maintaining a healthy weight and getting daily exercise.
If an immediate family member has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, score 1 point.
5. Have you ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is an important risk factor for the development and worsening of many complications of diabetes, including diabetic eye disease and kidney disease. Additionally, having diabetes increases your chances of having high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. Treating both conditions is very important for your overall health.
If you have high blood pressure, score 1 point.
6. Are you physically active?
Physical activity and daily exercise is crucial for everyone’s health, but even more so for those with diabetes. Regular workouts can help lower blood sugar levels, reduce body fat to improve insulin usage, and can keep the heart and cardiovascular system strong. Inactivity is also an independent risk factor for developing diabetes. Being sedentary increases your risk by 14%, per a study by endocrinologist Dr. Ronald Sigal at the University of Calgary.