It's a growing epidemic that is sweeping across America claiming more and more people, diabetes. It's a problem doctors wish people would pay more attention to before it gets serious.
"Diabetes is a serious condition. It's not just high blood sugar. It impacts your health, your kidneys, your eyes, possible loss of limbs, heart attacks, and plaque in coronary arteries," said Dr. Luis Casas a Trinity Clinic, endocrinologist.
According to the American Diabetes Association diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the United States.
It's a lot more common than people realize, more than 21 million Americans have diabetes. Almost one-third of those people are unaware they have the disease.
"People who have it, and don't know they have it, already have early complications even without it being diagnosed, yet." said Dr. Casas.
Frequent urination, excessive thirst, and extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, fatigue and blurred vision.
Doctors can test you for diabetes with a blood glucose test; however, if you cannot make it into your doctor immediately there are some tests available online. The American Diabetes Association has a web test to get your risk number.
Who's At Risk:
-If you have a family history of diabetes.
-If you're 45 years old, or older, are overweight, and have high blood pressure.
-Also, certain racial and ethnic groups are more at risk. (i.e. Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latin Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians)
"Certain racial groups are more prone to becoming insulin resistant. It's part of their genetic makeup from years ago, being able to preserve fat and nutrients was protective. So now that they live in a country were food is plentiful, the protective aspect from their metabolism is now detrimental to them, " said Dr. Casas.
Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes:
Type 1: Patients must have insulin delivered by injection or a pump.
Dr. Casas said, "With Type 1, you can't prevent from getting it."
Type 2: Preventable
Dr. Casas said, "Being overweight is what finally brings it on."
Diabetes self-management education is an integral part of the patients care.
Doctors say by keeping your weight under control, eating a low fat balanced diet, and exercising regularly (30 minutes/day).