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 21st annual Diabetes Alert® Day.

Another 57 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 American Diabetes Association encourages people who are overweight, physically inactive, and over the age of 45 years to take the Diabetes Risk Test.

The Diabetes Risk Test requires users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

The Diabetes Risk Test will show users whether they are at low, moderate, or high risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes.

The Diabetes Risk Test is available in English and Spanish by calling the Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2382) or by visiting www.diabetes.org/alert.

Although Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day event, the Diabetes Risk Test is available all year long.

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.

2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Data reflects that 11.2 to 13.3 percent of Jackson County adults have been diagnosed with diabetes.

The data also states that the average age at which Jackson County adults are diagnosed with diabetes is 45 to 49 years of age.

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, or nerve damage that can lead to amputations.

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fighting for those affected by diabetes.

For local information call or come to the Jackson County Health Department, 3045 4th Street, Marianna, Florida, (850) 526-2412 extension 282.

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