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How A Minute Of Your Time Online May Prevent Or Delay Diabetes

Your score on the risk test can determine if you need a blood test for diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association has launched a public awareness campaign in Dallas County to battle an ongoing high rate of type 2 diabetes.

Billboards across the county are urging people to take a free brief online test to determine their risk for the disease.

Dr. Luigi Meneghini, executive director of the Global Diabetes Program at Parkland Hospital explains why type 2 diabetes is a major health concern in Dallas County.

Why there's a high rate of type 2 diabetes in Dallas County: "In Dallas County, and especially within the Parkland population, we have a predominance of Latinos and people of color. There's a different genetic predisposition in diabetes.

If you score high on the test, "it does not mean you have diabetes, but that you are at risk for it."

"For example, Latinos and people of color have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes than Caucasians. Caucasians have a higher risk of type 1 diabetes than the other two groups."

How Weight Loss Helps: "The weight loss you're going to lose by reducing calories. The physical activity improves your body's ability to useinsulin. It makes your body more insulin sensitive and that's huge. If you're predisposed to developing diabetes, it kind of means your body at a certain point is not going to be able to make as much insulin as it did when you were younger."

If you score high on the risk test: "It does not mean you have diabetes, but that you are at risk for it. The best thing to do at that point is to get tested, meaning a random blood test where they'll check a value called an A-1-c – a glycated hemoglobin – and that can give us an idea whether you're in the normal range, the prediabetes range or whether you have already developed type 2 diabetes.

Why the risk test is important: "Diabetes doesn't really give you any symptoms. Prediabetes even less so. And not knowing you have the condition doesn't actually give you the opportunity of doing something to prevent the long term consequences."


Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.