Have You Been Screened for Diabetes?

With the benefits of catching diabetes early, it's important to be screened annually.Have you been diagnosed with diabetes? If not, would you recognize the symptoms if you developed them? Many people would not.

Diabetes Numbers: Bad and Good News

The number of Americans who have type 2 diabetes has risen tremendously in the past 15 years, as has the rate of obesity. Just two years ago, 12 percent of adults had diabetes, and 37% were displaying symptoms of elevated blood sugar levels, called prediabetes.

The good news? If a person diagnosed with prediabetes makes lifestyle changes, including healthy diet and exercise, they reduce their risk of developing diabetes by a stunning 47 percent.

Because of this, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending that all adults over the age of 45 be screened for diabetes and prediabetes. They also recommend that that any person 18 and older with diabetes risk factors like obesity, family history, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol be screened annually. The screening is simple and inexpensive.

Dr. Michael Pignone, a member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, feels that screening will bring great benefits to patients. “For people with abnormal blood sugar, changes in their lifestyle, such as eating healthier and exercising more often, can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The best way to do that is to participate in a program that supports these behaviors. That’s why we’re recommending that people who are at increased risk be screened.”

Would You Like to Avoid Complications of Diabetes?

There are many and varied complications that can result from diabetes. The following is just a small amount of more common complications.

  • bacterial skin infections, fungal infections, itching
  • glaucoma, cataracts, and vision loss
  • nerve damage, resulting in numbness and possible loss of limbs
  • kidney disease

Most of these complications can be preventable with excellent personal and medical care. Screening for diabetes and/or prediabetes is therefore vitally important for prevention and long-term health. Dr. Osama Hamdy, medical director of the obesity clinical program at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, said that these new recommendations could lead to better detection of prediabetes at the point when diabetes can still be prevented. “We need to focus on prevention rather than just treating a problem,” Hamdy said.

Have you had your blood sugar checked this year? If you are over the age of 18 and have any risk factors for diabetes, be sure to talk to your health care provider about the simple test.  Doing so can prevent high blood sugar from developing into full-fledged diabetes. We care about your health… get screened today!

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