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New Tool for Diabetes Management—At No Cost

separator The American Diabetes Association has launched a new Web tool that can help you get a good picture of your health risk status. It’s called Diabetes PHD, for Personal Health Decisions. Diabetes PHD explores the ways in which interventions such as losing weight, stopping smoking and taking certain medications can affect your health.

By using Diabetes PHD, you create what’s called a “personal health record.” When you go on the site, you’ll answer questions on a form that’s called a comprehensive health history. Questions include:

  • Age, weight and gender
  • Basic family health history (especially whether anyone has had diabetes)
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Fasting glucose levels
  • A1C number (if you have diabetes)
  • Health history (health problems, such as heart attack or stroke; whether you smoke; what your activity level is)

The more answers you’re able to give, the higher the accuracy of your risk profile will be.

Soon after you provide your answers, Diabetes PHD will display a chart that’s called a personalized “Health Overview.” This can show you your current 30-year risk for

  • Diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Foot complications
  • Eye complications

After you have this information, you can adjust the information on your chart to see how lifestyle changes could change your results. For example, if you wanted to see whether changing your weight might help reduce your risk factors, you could change the number in the weight box, press “recalculate,” and view the results.

Sometimes, when you have diabetes, it’s difficult to get a handle on exactly how the disease is likely to affect you. You know what the possible complications are, but they can seem like something far off and uncertain. Plugging in your own information and seeing results that are directly related to you—seeing a chart that shows you how much your risk goes down if, for example, you stop smoking—might make everything seem more concrete.

There’s no reason not to go on the Web site and give diabetes PHD a try. It takes about five minutes to answer the questions for your personal health record, and then five or 10 minutes to display your chart. You can create the chart under a username of your choosing. And it doesn’t cost a thing.

The American Diabetes Association
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