Are You at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes? Find Out on Diabetes Alert Day® March 23

  • March 22, 2021

About 88 million American adults — more than 1 in 3 — have prediabetes. Of those, more than 84% don’t know they have it, which puts them at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Learn if you or someone you love is at risk for Type 2 diabetes on American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day® on March 23, 2021.

The medical experts at Natividad Medical Center urge Monterey County residents to take a quick online Diabetes Risk Test at https://www.diabetes.org/risk-test. The sooner you know you’re at risk, the sooner you can take steps to prevent or manage the disease and stay healthier during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that having diabetes makes it harder for the body to fight all kinds of infections. We also know that the worse the diabetes is controlled, the worse this problem is. And the better the diabetes is controlled, the better chance the body has to fight infection,” said Dr. Marc Tunzi, a family doctor at Natividad Medical Group and faculty member at Natividad. “COVID-19 is an infection caused by the coronavirus. People with diabetes can decrease their chances of having a serious COVID-19 infection by controlling their sugars the best they can.”

Your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes depend on various risk factors which affect your chances of developing the disease. Although you can’t change risk factors such as family history, age, genes or ethnicity, you can change lifestyle risk factors, like diet and physical fitness. Taking action on what you can change may help delay or prevent Type 2 diabetes.

You are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes if you:

  • are overweight or obese
  • are age 45 or older
  • have a family history of diabetes
  • are African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
  • have high blood pressure
  • have a low level of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, or a high level of triglycerides
  • have a history of gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
  • are not physically active
  • have a history of heart disease or stroke
  • suffer from depression
  • have polycystic ovary syndrome, also called PCOS
  • have acanthosis nigricans — dark, thick, and velvety skin around your neck or armpits

What Can You Do To Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

You can take steps to help prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes by eating a healthy diet, being more physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and limiting consumption of alcohol. Talk with your health care professional about the health conditions listed above that may require medical treatment. Managing these health problems may help reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Also, ask your health care professional about any medicines you take that might increase your risk.

Observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March, American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day® is a one-day “wake-up call” that focuses on the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of understanding your risk.

The Facts:

  • In Monterey County, 1 in 8 people has diabetes, while nationwide, just over 1 in 10 people suffer from the disease.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 adults living with diabetes, or 7.3 million Americans, are unaware they have the disease.
  • In Monterey County, an estimated 45% of adults have prediabetes compared to one-third nationally. Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
  • More than 84% of people living with prediabetes don’t know they have it, which puts them at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
  • People with diabetes have much higher risks than the general population of diseases and complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, eye disease, with increased risk of blindness, and leg amputations due to poor circulation.
  • About 50% of women who develop gestational diabetes when pregnant later develop Type 2 diabetes.

For more information on diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association’s website at https://www.diabetes.org. To make an appointment with a family doctor at Natividad Medical Group, call (831) 759-0674.