TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Health officials say the number of people with Type 2 diabetes is growing so quickly, it's an epidemic.
Certified Diabetes Educator Elizabeth Davis of the Cotton-O'Neil Diabetes Center says increased obesity rates plus sedentary lifestyles combine to provide a ripe environment for diabetes.
Of the nearly 26 million children and adults in the U.S. living with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association says a quarter of them might not even know it.
Davis says not knowing you have the disease is a problem because diabetes can impact every organ in the body. Over time, blood sugars left uncontrolled damage nerve endings and vessels, leading to such problems as kidney damage, eye damage and cardiovascular disease.
The American Diabetes Association developed an online test to help people rate their risk for developing diabetes. It asks about gender, since men and women who've had gestational diabetes are at higher risk. It also asks about height and weight, blood pressure, physical activity and family history.
While you can't change that last one, the others you can. Seeing the risk spelled out could be enough to spark action. Davis says the hope is people will use the results to start looking at ways to improve their diet and activity level. She says small changes often can make a big difference.
You can take the diabetes risk test at www.diabetes.org.