BPT -- Understanding your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, or getting an early diagnosis, is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013, is American Diabetes Association Alert Day(R) which is a one-day "wake-up call" asking the American public to "Take It. Share It." by taking the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and sharing the test with their loved ones.-

The Diabetes Risk Test asks users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risks for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Preventative tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their health care provider.

Talking to your health care provider can be crucial. When elementary school teacher Tony Castillo moved to Odessa, Texas, in the fall of 2011, he had to find a new doctor. Switching doctors, it turns out, changed his life. Castillo was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Since his diagnosis, Castillo has worked hard at his weight loss through exercise and other lifestyle changes. He rode in the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure cycling fundraiser in Dallas last year and will do so again this year. Training for the Tour helped him lose a substantial amount of weight and lower his blood glucose levels dramatically. His total weight loss has been nearly 40 pounds.

"Having diabetes isn't a curse, but it does mean I have to be more careful," Castillo says. "I now watch my carbohydrate intake and try to exercise daily for at least 30 minutes."

Castillo says his greatest success since his diagnosis has been in speaking about his disease to the students in his fourth grade class.

"I noticed some of them started changing the way they ate as a result of sharing my story," he said. "I showed them how to read labels and explained portion sizes. They started watching what they were eating in the cafeteria, choosing more vegetables and not going straight for the desserts."

Everyone should be aware of the risks for type 2 diabetes. People who are overweight, not active (live a sedentary lifestyle) and over the age of 45 should consider themselves at risk for the disease.

For information and to take the free Diabetes Risk Test (English or Spanish) visit the American Diabetes Association on Facebook, stopdiabetes.com or call 1-800-342-2383.

For every Diabetes Risk Test taken, Boar's Head(R) -- a leading provider of premium delicatessen products -- will donate $5 to the American Diabetes Association starting March 26 through April 9, 2013, up to $50,000.