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It’s Diabetes Alert Day; know your risk for type 2 diabetes

Rowan County Health Department

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes – including more than 785,000 people in North Carolina, where diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death. It is estimated that at least 1 out of 4 people with diabetes don’t even know they have the disease. Additionally, nearly 520,000 adults in North Carolina have prediabetes, a condition that increases their chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

In support of American Diabetes Association Alert Day on Tuesday and the Spring Into Health awareness campaign, the N.C. Diabetes Advisory Council and the Rowan County Health Department are encouraging people to find out if they are at risk for type 2 diabetes. If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputation, and even death.

“If you have a family history of diabetes – such as a mother, father, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes – or if you had diabetes during pregnancy – you could have a higher chance of developing the disease,” Nina Oliver, Rowan County’s public health director, said in a news release. “You can’t change your family’s health history, but knowing about it can help you take action now to prevent or delay the development of this serious disease.”

Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being overweight or obese, physically inactive, and over the age of 45. Diabetes is also more common in African Americans, people of African ancestry, Hispanics and Latinos, American Indians, Alaska natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“We are encouraging everyone to know their risk for type 2 diabetes by talking to their family about their family history of diabetes and finding out if you – or someone you love – could be at risk for type 2 diabetes,” said Amy Smith, health educator with the Rowan Health Department.

Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing a small amount of weight – 5 to 7 percent (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) – and becoming more active. Action steps include making healthy food choices and being active at least 30 minutes, five days a week.

Find out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes by taking the risk test at http://www.diabetesnc.com/about_risk.html . Spring Into Health is an awareness campaign sponsored by the Chronic Disease and Injury Section of the N.C. Division of Public Health.

For more information, answers to questions, or appointments, call the Rowan County Health Department 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 704-216-8777.

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