Are You Ready for a Challenge?

Alexandria,
March 22, 2011

Today the American Diabetes Association has issued a challenge to Americans – a challenge that will only take a few minutes but could save a life. Starting Tuesday, March 22 – which is the 23rd annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day – through April 22, the public is asked to “Join the Million Challenge” and take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  People can take the Diabetes Risk Test by visiting www.stopdiabetes.com, calling 1-800-DIABETES or texting JOIN to 69866 (standard data and message rates apply).

In late January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new diabetes statistics showing one in three American adults are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Out of the nearly 26 million Americans with diabetes, one-fourth of them do not realize they have the disease.

“Diabetes is a public health crisis of epidemic proportions. Diabetes Alert Day has become more relevant and more critical than ever to help identify the undiagnosed and those at risk for type 2 diabetes,” commented Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, PhD, RD, President, Health Care & Education, American Diabetes Association.

“Awareness is vitally important in the effort to Stop Diabetes®. Once you are aware that you are at risk for diabetes, there are many steps you can take to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. In addition, if you find out you have diabetes, there are many things you can do to prevent or delay its complications.”

Join the Million Challenge

At the end of 2010, the American Diabetes Association surpassed their goal of inspiring one million Americans to be a part of the American Diabetes Association’s movement to Stop Diabetes®.  To continue this momentum, the Association is asking the public to “Join the Million Challenge” by rallying one million people to take the Diabetes Risk Test and find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes from March 22 through April 22, 2011. 

The Diabetes Risk Test requires users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for diabetes.  If they are at high risk, they are encouraged to speak with their health care provider.  The public  can “Join the Million Challenge” by getting a free Diabetes Risk Test (English or Spanish) by visiting www.stopdiabetes.com, calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or texting JOIN to 69866 (standard data and message rates apply).  

Diabetes Awareness and Prevention

Out of the nearly 26 million Americans with diabetes, 7 million people are living with diabetes but have yet to be diagnosed.  Diabetes symptoms can include frequent urination, blurred vision and excessive thirst, although most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes do not show these overt warning signs at the time that they develop the disease.  

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, Hispanics/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. 

For many, diagnosis may come seven to ten years after the actual onset of the disease, often only after patients already have started to suffer one or more complications of diabetes. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death. 

In addition, approximately 79 million, or one in three American adults have prediabetes, which means that their blood glucose (sugar) is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.  Without intervention, individuals with prediabetes are at a much higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing just 7% of body weight (such as 15 pounds if you weigh 200) through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating.

The Association is encouraging the public to help spread the word about Diabetes Alert Day through social media.  Visit www.stopdiabetes.com for social media tools.

Diabetes Alert Day in Your Community

The American Diabetes Association’s local offices are working with their community organizations and partners to promote Diabetes Alert Day.  To find out what activities are happening locally, visit www.stopdiabetes.com.

Diabetes Alert Day is supported nationally by a $1.5 million three-year grant from the WellPoint® Foundation whose support has allowed the American Diabetes Association to distribute a comprehensive Stop Diabetes Community Leader Tool Kit to help community-based organizations raise awareness of diabetes risk factors among their constituents beginning this month.

The Association would also like to thank its corporate supporters who are part of the Join the Million Challenge by conducting activities on Diabetes Alert Day including AstraZeneca, BD Medical-Diabetes Care, Boar’s Head Provisions Co., Inc., Boerhinger-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dignity® Memorial Network, Catherines®, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Gold’s Gym, HearPO, Merisant Company (Equal®), NBA/WNBA FIT, Novo Nordisk®, Quest Diagnostics®, Roche Diabetes Care, T-Fal® Actifry®, VSP® Vision Care and Walmart.

 

*Personal stories of people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are available upon request.

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. Founded in 1940, our mission is 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 www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.