Diabetes Risk Factors: Your 8-Year Risk of Diabetes
For a disease that increases the risk of heart disease and stroke 2 to 4-fold, accounts for 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness and 82,000 leg amputations in the US each year, leads to end-stage kidney disease forcing over 150,000 Americans to depend on chronic dialysis, causes impaired sensation or pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion of food in the stomach, carpal tunnel syndrome, and a host other medical problems, diabetes is probably the number one contender on the list of the most dreadful chronic diseases out there. And it's the kind of disease you don't want to discover you have it years after it has silently wrought havoc in your system. This is why I highly recommend you continue to read, as this article offers a free tool that estimates your 8-year risk of type II diabetes with high accuracy, using simple risk factors and labs you can obtain from a single visit to your physician.
Diabetes Risk Factors & Calculator
Diabetes is one the rise in the US: over 20 million people (or 7 percent of the US population) had diabetes in 2005. Almost one third of these were not aware they carried this diagnosis.
To calculate your 8-year risk of diabetes, please fill in the form below, then press on the "Calculate My Risk" button. All fields are required.
Instructions & Glossary of Terms
If you have difficulty understanding some of the medical terms above, here is a quick glossary:
Your Clinical Measurements
- Blood Pressure: you can use your most recent blood pressure measurement. As you know, blood pressure measurements are given in two values - a higher number, called systolic blood pressure, and a lower number, also known as diastolic blood pressure. For the purposes of this calculator, you should answer "Yes" to the question "Is your blood pressure higher than 130/85 mmHg?" if either systolic or diastolic or both values are higher than those indicated.
For example, if your blood pressure was 135/75, you should answer "Yes", even though the diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) was normal.
- Parental History of Diabetes: you should select "Yes" if either your mother or father suffered from type II diabetes.
Diabetes affects people of all ages.
Your Laboratory Data
In order to predict your heart disease and stroke risk, the Reynolds risk score uses the following lab values:
- HDL Cholesterol: this is the so-called "good" cholesterol, as higher values are associated with a lower risk of cardio-vascular disease. Low HDL cholesterol levels puts you at higher risk for heart disease. The optimal levels of HDL cholesterol are more than 40 mg/dL for men and more than 50 mg/dL for women.
- Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat is present in the body. They're also present in blood plasma and, in association with cholesterol, form the plasma lipids. Everytime your doctors orders a lipid panel, your triglycerides levels are checked along with cholestero. Optimal values are below 150 mg/dL.
How is My Diabetes Risk Calculated?
This diabetes risk calculator uses the algorithm to estimate the risk for type 2 diabetes published in the Archives of Internal Medicine
on May 28, 2007, under the title "Prediction of Incident Diabetes Mellitus in Middle-aged Adults - The Framingham Offspring Study
". According to the researchers, "parental history of diabetes and obesity remained significant predictors [of type 2 diabetes], along with hypertension, low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, elevated triglyceride levels, and impaired fasting glucose findings."
The authors studied over 3.100 people that were part of the Framingham Offspring Study. The only major limitation of this study is that 99% of participants were white, so if you are not white, these results may not be as accurate for you.
What Can I Do If I Have a Higher Risk of Diabetes?
First of all, keep in mind that this is a risk estimator that helps you quantify your odds of developing diabetes in the next 8 years. While a higher score might appear depressing, remember the whole purpose of this test is to help you stay ahead of the game. It gives you precious time during which you can make changes in your lifestyle that can decrease your risk significantly. Just try entering a lower weight (if you have extra pounds), or a normal blood pressure or triglycerides in the calculator above, and see how your risk drops.
Second, make sure you talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to provide you with personalized adivce as to how you can further reduce your risk.
Third, inform yourself. Educate yourself. Keep in mind that, except for insulin, no medication is more powerful in controlling and reversing the effects of diabetes than a healthy diet and regular, aerobic exercise.
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