By Reema Patel, M.D.
American Diabetes Alert Day is March 22. On this day, the American Diabetes Association invites you to take a free Diabetes Risk Test to find out if you are at risk for Type 2 Diabetes. The test asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors. Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at an increased risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. To take the test, visit www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/.
Type 2 Diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently. It develops most often in middle-aged and older adults, but can also appear in young people, particularly with higher body weight. Preventive tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their health care provider. Taking the test is the first step toward preventing or delaying Type 2 Diabetes.
1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. In 2012, 29.1 million Americans had diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic leg amputations and new cases of blindness, as well as a major cause of heart disease and strokes. Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans are high-risk ethnic groups for developing diabetes. Symptoms of diabetes can include increased thirst, increased urination, feeling tired, weight loss, blurry vision, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet and wounds or cuts that heal slower than usual.
The good news is that people can delay and possibly prevent diabetes by losing weight and eating healthier. Five to seven percent reduction in total body weight and about 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week can lead to reduction in risk of developing diabetes. A study called “The Diabetes Prevention Program” showed that physical activity and a healthy diet helped study participants reduce their risk of developing diabetes more so compared to a diabetes medication. Take the test to see if you are at risk for diabetes.
Dr. Patel is the medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center, affiliate of the Raritan Bay Medical Center Old Bridge Division, a member of the Hackensack Meridian Health family. She is board certified in diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism and internal medicine. The center provides the latest advances in diabetes treatment, patient education and support services, and their education program is accredited by the American Diabetes Association Education Recognition Certificate. Dr. Patel also treats conditions such as thyroid diseases, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, osteoporosis, menopause, low testosterone, polycystic ovarian syndrome, adrenal and pituitary disorders, hirsutism and a variety of other hormonal problems. She is fluent in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu. To make an appointment, call 732-360-4070.