By Cathy Queen, RN
Right at Home of the Rivercities
The American Diabetes Association reports that nine out of 10 Americans at highest risk for type 2 diabetes, commonly called adult-onset diabetes, do not know about their health risk.
On March 26, American Diabetes Association Alert Day® invites adults and youth to take the free, anonymous Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test. The online questions, such as “Do you have a family history of diabetes?” are straightforward with easy yes/no answers. Alert Day is the ideal time to learn how to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes and encourage family and friends to take the risk test, too.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
• Weight. Excess fatty tissue makes cells resistant to using insulin properly.
• Family history. If a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes, your risk increases.
• Inactivity. A more sedentary lifestyle lowers the use of glucose as energy and makes cells less sensitive to insulin levels.
• Ethnicity. Although the cause is unknown, being African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander or Asian-American boosts the risk for becoming diabetic.
• Age. Being age 45 or older increases the risk of diabetes, perhaps because older adults tend to lose muscle mass, exercise less and gain more weight than when younger.
• High blood pressure. An increased risk for type 2 diabetes is linked to blood pressure over 140/90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury).
• Depression. Having depression in midlife or later in life can occur with medical conditions including diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
• Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The risk for type 2 diabetes elevates when high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as the “good” cholesterol, is low, and triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) are high.
• Gestational diabetes. Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy or give birth to a baby more than nine pounds run a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
• Polycystic ovary syndrome. Women who have this condition, which produces irregular menstrual periods, obesity and excess hair growth, incur increased risk of diabetes.
Follow these screening guidelines for type 2 diabetes:
• If you are age 45 or older, your doctor should screen you every three years.
• If you have one or more diabetes risk factors, such as being overweight, having a family history of diabetes or having high blood pressure or triglycerides, you should be screened at an earlier age.
• If you have chronic high blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or above or you use blood pressure medication, you should consult with your doctor on the timing of diabetes screenings.
Tips for self-management of diabetes include the following:
• Checking blood sugar levels regularly.
• Watching weight.
• Eating a healthy diet.
• Resting adequately.
• Getting consistent physical exercise.
• Employing technology that tracks blood sugar.
• Seeing a healthcare provider as often as advised.
For more information about community resources for the prevention and management of diabetes, contact Right at Home of The Rivercities, a leading provider of in-home care and assistance. Contact us at (304) 453-4663 or visit our website at RaHRivercities.com.
About Right at Home
Founded in 1995, Right at Home offers in-home companionship and personal care and assistance to seniors and adults with a disability who want to continue to live independently. Local Right at Home offices are independently owned and operated and directly employ and supervise all caregiving staff, each of whom is thoroughly screened, trained, and bonded/insured prior to entering a client’s home. Right at Home of the Rivercities is a locally owned and operated franchise office serving the communities of Huntington, Ashland and Ironton.