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Family History of Diabetes Increases Risk for Developing the Disease

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Knowing about your family’s health history goes a long way toward preventing or delaying the development of serious diseases like diabetes. Many people who develop Type 2 diabetes have one or more family members with the disease, so it’s important to know your family’s diabetes health history, and to share that information with your doctor.

The good news is that people with a family history of diabetes can take steps now to prevent or delay the onset of the disease. Healthy Heritage Movement has partnered with the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) to share this message during National Diabetes Awareness Month this November by hosting a free diabetes awareness event “Family History — Step to Prevention”.

This event will offer free diabetes screening, lifestyle assessment, and a ‘Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes’ gift bag. It will take place Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Healthy Heritage Cultural and Wellness Center located at 3649 Ninth Street, Riverside, Calif. 92501.

A team of experts will be on hand including a diabetes educator, registered dietician, fitness trainer an addiction counselor and Spiritual advisory.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death, and nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes. It is estimated that one-third of the people with diabetes don’t know they have the disease, and people with undiagnosed diabetes may experience damage to the heart, eyes, kidneys, and limbs — without producing any symptoms. Another 57 million adults in the U.S. have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Studies show that risk factors include smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, hypertension, high blood pressure, family history, and minority ethnic groups. According to statistics, out of the 24 million diagnosed each year ages 20 and older, a reported 10.4 percent were Hispanics, and 11.8 percent were Blacks.

“You can’t change your family history, but knowing about it can help you work with your health care team to take action on the things you can change,” said Phyllis Clark, Founder and C.E.O. of Healthy Heritage Movement. “We can encourage everyone to talk with their family members to find out if any close relatives, such as a mother, father, brother or sister, have had diabetes. If any of the women in your family had gestational diabetes while pregnant, she is also at increased risk for diabetes in the future, and so is her child from that pregnancy. This is all important to share with your doctor.”

The good news is that you can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes by losing a small amount of weight — 5 to 7 percent (10 to 14 pounds for a 200- pound person) — and becoming more active. Action steps, which will benefit the entire family, include making healthy food choices and being active at least 30 minutes, five days per week. To help achieve health goals, write down everything you eat and drink, and the number of minutes you are active each day. Review these notes daily.

To learn more about family health history and preventing type 2 diabetes, check out NDEP’s risk tests in English and Spanish at www.YourDiabetesInfo.org, or call 1-888-693-NDEP (6337); TTY: 1- 866-569-1162. Ask for Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, a tip sheet called It’s Never Too Early to Prevent Diabetes, and a tip sheet for children at risk called Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes, in English or Spanish.

For more information about the free diabetes screening contact Healthy Heritage Movement at (951) 389-4325 or visit www.healthyheritagemovement.co m.

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