Alongside the obesity epidemic in our society and across the globe, type 2 diabetes has also become – pun intended – a large and growing problem. Nearly 2 million Canadians have diabetes, and even more alarming, as much as 3% of the adult population are walking our streets with diabetes, but don’t know that they have it.

One of those people could be you.

Also worrisome is the fact that by the time most people with type 2 diabetes are diagnosed, they have had it for 5-7 years, but did not know it. This is because in many cases, type 2 diabetes can be more or less without symptoms for a number of years, so if an individual does not see their doctor for regular checkups, the diabetes is not detected. Unfortunately, even though there can be little in the way of symptoms, the diabetes is still very active behind the scenes, causing damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nervous system.

The British Medical Journal has recently published a tool called the QDScore, that you can use to calculate your approximate risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes over the next 10 years. This diabetes risk calculator is based on British data from over 2.5 million people, and is valid for use for people between the ages of 25-79. Although it is based on British data, it should still give a very reasonable estimate for Canadians.

To use the calculator, you need to know your weight in kg, and your height in cm.

Weight in kg = Weight in lbs/2.2

Height in cm = height in inches x 2.54(there are 12 inches to a foot, so someone who is 5 feet 4 inches = 64 inches = 163 cm)

So, you’ve calculated your risk. Now what? See your doctor to talk about it. Your MD will likely elect to test you for diabetes with blood tests, and if negative, you can build a strategy of diabetes prevention together. Should you happen to be one of those 3% with previously undiagnosed diabetes – then you and your doctor can tackle the issue head on, and get started on a treatment plan without delay.

While this risk calculator is a useful tool, it does not replace a visit to your doctor. It is important to see your doctor for regular check ups – but it doesn’t hurt to come prepared with this extra information. Knowledge is Power!

Dr. Sue © 2009