As part of American Diabetes Association Alert Day, Allegheny County’s health department urges residents to take the Diabetes Risk Test on Tuesday, March 22.
According to Lorraine Starsky, a public health nurse with the Allegheny County Health Department, the risk test is a fairly simple questionnaire. She said in addition to identifying your age and ethnicity, the survey asks questions about “your weight, family history, [or] if you’re a female if you had a baby that weighed more than nine pounds at birth.”
According to the Center for Disease Control the number of people diagnosed with diabetes yearly continues to escalate. The center estimates 26 million people to be afflicted by diabetes, and a disturbing 27 percent don’t know they have it, contributing to the disease’s moniker “America’s Silent Killer.”
“The symptoms can be so easily overlooked and so we’re asking people look at your risk factors and if you see that you have two or more, if you’re scoring high on this test, then it’s important, it’s a wakeup call,” Starsky says.
Even more important, recently, is the increase of obesity leading to Type II diabetes in youth. Type II diabetes formerly affected mostly adults over the age of 45 but youth have continued to be diagnosed at younger ages.
Starsky says that untreated and unrecognized diabetes can be very detrimental to a person’s health.
“It’s doing a lot of damage to major body systems. It’s affecting your eyes, it’s affecting your kidneys, it’s affecting your cardiovascular system, your heart, and so a lot of times this damage goes on silently,” Starsky says.
To access the risk test, you can call 1-800-342-2383 to request a copy of the questionnaire or you can fill out the survey online.