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August 2010 | 0 Comments | Print

Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes?

With Douglas Schuckmann of The Christ Hospital Wound Healing Center

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that of the nearly 24 million people in the United States living with diabetes, almost one in four is unaware they have the disease.

"Diabetes is the sixth-leading cause of death in the nation and people with diabetes are also up to four times more likely to have stroke or heart disease – two of the top three leading causes of death.  With odds like that, it's important to be informed," said Douglas Schuckmann of The Christ Hospital Wound Healing Center, which helps treat patients with diabetes who have developed chronic wounds due to complications from the disease.

In adults, type 2 diabetes accounts for the vast majority of cases. In type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce or process enough insulin to carry sugar from the blood into the cells resulting in cells starved for energy and unhealthy blood sugar levels that may damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart.

"One study showed that simple lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of contracting diabetes up to 58 percent in adults, but the first step is in determining if you are at risk," Schuckmann said.

Here are some common risk factors:

  • Age. People over 45 have a greater risk of developing diabetes: nearly 11 percent of people age 20 and older have diabetes, but the number more than doubles by the age of 60 and older.
  • Gender. Men are at a slightly higher risk than women at 11 versus 10 percent. And women who had high blood sugar levels during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or who gave birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds are at risk.
  • Race. African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders are at greater risk for diabetes than other groups.
  • Family history. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, family history increases risk and those with a parent or sibling with the disease are five times more likely to develop diabetes.
  • Weight. Being overweight, especially with a body-mass index of 25 or above, increases the risk. 

Ask your doctor if testing is appropriate at your next routine physical. To find a physician, or for more information about diabetes care, call 877-904-4YOU or visit

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