You hear it all the time - diabetes is a health epidemic in the United States. Here are some shocking statistics:
According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and 8.1 million of those are undiagnosed.
About 80 million have pre-diabetes and may not even know it.
It's a huge crisis for baby boomers as well, with more than 25 percent of people over the age of 65 who have it.
Are you at risk?
"No way - not me," you tell yourself.
Maybe you're thin and you think there's no possible way you could ever have diabetes. No one in your family has ever had it, so why would you?
Your doctor even ran a blood glucose test and said your levels are normal. Even if they were slightly elevated, maybe he wrote you a prescription, told you to start exercising, and asked you to come back in a few months to get re-tested.
Here's the problem I have with this approach: Instead of being proactive, he's simply waiting for a diagnosis, which may be inevitable if you don't do something about it now.
That's right. Your doctor isn't taking your risk for diabetes seriously. Why? Because he just doesn't have the time.
But guess what?
That blood glucose test isn't the be-all, end-all when we look for diabetes. In fact, it's not the most reliable tool we even have. I like to think of it as the first baseline test we should look at.
Here's why. A blood glucose test looks at your fasting blood glucose level at one point in time. And that time is not when your body is functioning like it always does. You haven't eaten for several hours and you probably just started your day. You're not scarfing down lunch, running around town, or hitting balls at the fairway.
I like to think of it as running a slew of diagnostics on your car when the ignition isn't even on.It's just not going to work.
When your results come back, you fall into 1 of 3 categories:
The problem with this way of looking at blood sugar is that there are so many gray areas. Even if you're considered borderline or normal, you could still be at risk for developing diabetes. Or you may already have a full-blown case and not even know it.
What's more,your doctor may not be talking with you about the other seemingly innocent symptoms, which may clue us into a diabetes diagnosis. These include:
Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
Tingling in toes
Unlike traditional medical practices, n1Health physicians offer genetic testing to find out your individual risk for diabetes, obesity, and other health conditions.
We also offer lab tests that screen for inflammatory markers that can put you at risk for heart disease and stroke - two health conditions that are more likely when you have diabetes. At my practice, we'll never send you to a lab for a blood glucose test. You can do it right in our relaxing office. Plus, we spend time thoroughly evaluating your symptoms, your test results, and your lifestyle to assess your risk and come up with a prevention plan that works.
By J. Dan Morris, M.D.
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