One In Five Americans Are Either At High Risk for Developing Type 2 Diabetes Or Are Unaware That They Already Have Diabetes

March 27, 2007

Diabetes has become the greatest public health crisis of the next quarter century. To address the burden of this disease, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is issuing an urgent call-to-action for Americans to find out their risk for type 2 diabetes during the 19th annual American Diabetes Alert® Day. More than six million Americans have diabetes, but don’t even know it. Another 54 million Americans have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

On American Diabetes Alert® Day, held annually on the fourth Tuesday in March, the ADA encourages people who are overweight, physically inactive, and over the age of 45 years to take the American Diabetes Risk Test, which asks seven simple questions about weight, age, lifestyle and family history – all potential risk factors for type 2 diabetes. People scoring 10 points or more are at a high risk for diabetes and are encouraged to schedule an appointment to see their doctor. The risk test, in English or Spanish, is available by calling the Association toll-free at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or by visiting

“Today is a day for Americans to take charge of their health. The diabetes epidemic has taken a devastating toll on families and communities across the country,” said Larry C. Deeb, MD, President, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association.

“But there is hope. Early detection and treatment can help prevent type 2 diabetes or serious complications associated with diabetes such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, amputation, and even death. By taking the American Diabetes Risk Test, people can be one step closer to having the information they need to lead a healthier life.”

Among the primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes are being overweight, sedentary, over the age of 45 and having a family history of diabetes. African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk, as are women who have had babies weighing more than nine pounds at birth.

Unfortunately, people with type 2 diabetes can live for years without realizing that they have the disease. While people with diabetes can exhibit noticeable symptoms, such as frequent urination, blurred vision and excessive thirst, most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes do not show these overt warning signs at the time that they develop the disease. Often, type 2 diabetes only becomes evident when people develop one or more of its serious complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage, and nerve damage that can lead to amputations.

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Since 1940, our mission has been to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.