Diabetes — Do You Have It And Not Know It?

How many of you have ever been told by a doctor that you have pre-diabetes? Even more worrisome, how many readers have diabetes but don’t know it?

This is not a rare problem at all; it’s estimated that all over the world , maybe 1/3 of people with diabetes are walking around unaware of their disease diagnosis — mostly because they don’t get annual screening tests from a local clinic.

The main reason why this concerns me is that, as a family medicine doctor, I treat diabetic patients all the time and I see the serious health effects it can have. I’ve had too many hospital visits to see my patients getting their feet amputated, or going blind, or in the ICU from a diabetic coma. Diabetes, if not treated early, can seriously impact people’s lives. So my #1 mission is to have people not get diabetes in the first place.

This means that people need to be screened. It’s very simple —  it’s just a quick 5-minute blood test at an annual exam. If you haven’t had a physical exam in many years, you should get checked. If you’re short on money or without insurance, you can simply go to one of those small mini-clinics found in many large supermarkets and big chain stores (including some pharmacies).

Why is screening so important? Mostly because diabetes may cause “silent” symptoms but can still be silently wearing down down your kidneys, eyes, heart and nerves. Many people, when officially diagnosed, already have permanent damage to these organs. This again is why it’s important to catch diabetes early — once you know, you can aggressively change your lifestyle, and maybe start some diabetes pills, and you can avoid all that long-term organ damage.

Slide Show: Diabetes — How Can We Prevent It?

Here below is a copy of a slide show about diabetes that I am now giving to local organizations. You can instantly view it full-screen by clicking on the “menu” button:

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Photography: richardsaintcyr.com

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