Diabetes Alert! Are you at Risk?
By: Britney Henry
TRICARE Management Activity
One of the more troubling trends in the state of American health today is 8 percent of the population has diabetes. But what’s alarming is that more than 25 percent of those who have diabetes don’t know they have this deadly disease. To learn about the risks for developing type 2 diabetes and how to prevent it, TRICARE beneficiaries can participate in Diabetes Alert Day on March 27, 2012.
The American Diabetes Association sponsors the annual “Alert! Day” in hopes Americans will hear the wake-up call and take a diabetes-risk test. Participants answer questions about their weight, age, family history and potential risk factors. Some risk factors include a family history of diabetes, obesity, being a member of certain racial or ethnic groups, age, gestational diabetes and physical inactivity. Everyone who takes part will receive tips on prevention, and anyone considered at high risk is encouraged to talk to their health care provider as soon as possible. Beneficiaries can find the test and more information about diabetes alert day at www.diabetes.org.
If current trends continue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three American adults could have type 2 diabetes by 2050. Prevention is the key to avoiding type 2 diabetes. Those who are overweight can reduce their risk by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight. Moderate exercise, low-fat foods and a reduced caloric intake also help lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
The National Institutes of Health defines diabetes as a lifelong chronic disease in which there is a high level of sugar in the blood. When a person develops diabetes, their body either does not make enough insulin – a hormone created by the pancreas to help the body use glucose (sugar) for energy – or it does not respond to the insulin it creates.
Type 2 diabetes does have warning signs. People at risk for type 2 diabetes often have increased blood glucose levels, but not high enough to classify them as diabetic. To discover if they have prediabetes symptoms, TRICARE beneficiaries should talk to their primary care provider about getting tested.
If they’re diagnosed early, diabetics are able to better care for themselves. Help change the trend and get tested for type 2 diabetes. To learn more about diabetes go to www.cdc.gov/diabetes/.
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The TRICARE Management Activity administers the worldwide health care plan for 9.6 million eligible beneficiaries of the uniformed services, retirees and their families.