Diabetes is a serious disease that affects nearly 26 million Americans. At least one out of four people with diabetes have the disease, but do not even realize it. Another 79 million adults in the US have prediabetes, a condition that increases their chances of developing type 2 diabetes. American Diabetes Association Alert Day®, observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March – Tuesday, 26 March 2013 – is a one-day wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated.
In observance of Diabetes Alert Day, the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is encouraging people to find out if they are at risk for type 2 diabetes by taking the Diabetes Risk Test and talking to their family about their family history of diabetes. If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputation, and even death.
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.
Visit www.YourDiabetesInfo.org/AlertDay2013 for tools you can use to help people learn about their risk for type 2 diabetes, including the Diabetes Risk Test, Family Health History Quiz, and the 4 Questions You Should Ask Your Family about Diabetes and Family Health History tool.
Spread the word!
This year, the ADA is taking advantage of social media. People are encouraged to take the risk test by driving them to Facebook where they can also ask questions, engage with the diabetic community and share the test with friends and loved ones. The test’s algorithm is adjusted to align with a more contemporary and accurate scoring system that enables the general public to better assess their risk. There will also be motivational incentives for people to not only take the test but to share it with their social networks.
The tagline for our 25th Annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day will be “Take it. Share it.” For every Diabetes Risk Test taken, Boar’s Head® - a leading provider of premium delicatessen products - will donate $5 to the American Diabetes Association starting 26 March through 9 April, up to $50,000.
A Costly Concern
Diabetes is a concern not only for those diagnosed but for citizens in general. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates the total costs of diagnosed diabetes have risen to $245 billion in 2012 from $174 billion in 2007, representing a 41 percent increase over a five year period.
“As the number of people with diabetes grows, so does the economic burden it places on this country,” said Robert Ratner, MD, Chief Scientific & Medical Officer, ADA. “The cost of diabetes is rising at a rate higher than overall medical costs with more than one in 10 health care dollars in the country being spent directly on diabetes and its complications, and more than one in five health care dollars in the US going to the care of people with diagnosed diabetes.”
A recent ADA study found that 62.4% of the cost for diabetes care in the US is provided by government insurance. This includes Medicare, Medicaid and the military. The total cost includes both direct medical and indirect costs. The direct medical costs of $176 billion, includes hospital and emergency care, office visits and medications. The indirect medical costs, which total $69 billion, includes absenteeism from work, reduced productivity, unemployment caused by diabetes-related disability and lost productivity due to early mortality.
This article was taken in part from press releases by the NDEP and the ADA. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your physician. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of diabetes, make an appointment with your physician.
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