March 25 is the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Alert day. The theme this year is “Take it”, the ADA diabetes risk test; “Share it”, share this test with those you care about; “Step out” start learning and start a healthy and active lifestyle.

An estimated 26 million Americans have diabetes. Of this number, Type 1 diabetes affects five percent of the diabetic population and those with this type have no insulin production left in the pancreas. The remaining 95 percent have Type 2 diabetes where either insufficient insulin is produced by the beta cells or the body’s cells have become resistant to the insulin and don’t use the insulin efficiently or both. In Livingston County, 9.5 percent of the population is diabetic, this compared to an overall rate of 8.4 percent in New York State. In addition, 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes, a condition that may, but does not have to progress to diabetes.

For those with pre-diabetes, your challenge is to take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about what can be done to either put off the progression to diabetes or not become diabetic at all.

For those with diabetes, your challenge is to meet the condition head on and take charge, do not let it take charge of you. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that only 40.6 percent of those with diabetes ever take advantage of the education which would help them self-manage the condition. Yet, insurance companies know that their participants with diabetes education have medical costs 2.3 times lower than the person who has not taken a diabetes course.

If you would like to see the impact Type 1 diabetes has both on the family and the individual and get a glimpse of what it takes to manage this disease, go to YouTube and search “Carter’s Crew JDRF Walk 2014”. Carter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at eight years old and this video will give you a glimpse into the life of this young man and his family.

Livingston County has the resources you need close to home. The Noyes Hospital Diabetes Education Program is available both in Dansville, Geneseo and in five area physician offices. The program is recognized by the American Diabetes Association and staffed with an RN, Certified Diabetes Educator and a registered dietitian. There are individual appointments to begin and thanks to a rural health grant, five hours of free diabetes education classes which includes a free meal to help participants make better food choices. The Livingston County Department of Health has a monthly support group for diabetics.

It is estimated that seven million individuals have no idea they are diabetic. Find out if your are one of these individuals or at risk for diabetes. Take the test in this issue and find out. Be alert to your risk factors and discuss them with your physician.

Nancy M. Johnsen RN, CDE is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Community Health Education Coordinator at Noyes Memorial Hospital. Call 335-4355 today and start to take charge! Diabetes increases the risk for some significant health problems which include; heart disease, amputations, stroke, kidney damage, blindness, gum disease, nerve damage and possibly dementia. Don’t be one of the statistics!

The Risk Test can also be found on the hospital website: