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1 in 8 Americans Has Diabetes: What’s Your Risk?

One in eight Americans have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

Shocking? Indeed.

But even more staggering is the information released from a recent Harris poll that indicates that only 21% of Americans surveyed were well-versed on the disease—including one third of the participants who were diagnosed with the disease or have a parent, child, or sibling with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes has become one of the most common and fastest growing diseases. Fully one in eight adults (approximately 29 million people) now report that they have been diagnosed with this life-threatening condition. It’s occurring in epidemic proportions and according to the Harris poll, many people are not aware of the causes or warning signs and may not seek help until serious complications arise.

Below are some factors that you might want to consider to determine your risk for type 2 diabetes:

  • Weight. Being overweight is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • Fat distribution. If your body stores fat primarily in your abdomen, your risk of type 2 diabetes is greater than if your body stores fat elsewhere, such as your hips and thighs.
  • Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk of type 2 diabetes. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Family history. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
  • Race. Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races—including blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans—are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than whites are.
  • Age. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45. That’s probably because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age. But type 2 diabetes is also increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults.
  • Prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Left untreated, prediabetes often progresses to type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of later developing type 2 diabetes increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms), you’re also at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Categories: Ann Quasarano, Science

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