The Doctor is In: Dealing with diabetes

According to recently published data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the almost 26 million Americans who have type 2 diabetes, 7 million are unaware that they have the disease. Another 79 million Americans have higher-than-normal blood-sugar levels, which is characteristic of a condition known as prediabetes. Prediabetes was estimated to affect 57 million U.S. adults in 2008.

Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes occur when your body becomes unable to properly process glucose (sugar) from foods into energy. Common warning signs of diabetes include:
• Frequent urination
• Excessive thirst
• Extreme hunger
• Unusual weight loss
• Increased fatigue
• Irritability
• Blurry vision

In my office, we use a simple blood test -- fasting plasma glucose test – to diagnose diabetes. This test measures blood-sugar levels after you have gone without anything to eat or drink for at least eight hours. Another commonly used screening technique is an oral glucose tolerance test, which measures blood-sugar levels after you fast for eight and then drink a solution of water and dissolved glucose. Blood is drawn two hours after the solution is consumed to measure glucose levels.

Are you in danger?
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include: being overweight, physical inactivity, history of diabetes, women who had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or delivered a nine-pound or more baby, and people of African-American, Native-American, Latino and Asian-American descent. High cholesterol and high blood pressure also increase your risk.

Managing your risk
For many people, simple lifestyle changes can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Keeping yourself at a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating a well-balanced diet can ward off type 2 diabetes in high-risk individuals.

If you have diabetes
Some of the most common diabetes complications include heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, loss of vision, circulatory disorders, and nerve damage. Therefore, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes, good management of your disease – including following a diabetic nutrition plan, taking necessary medication, maintaining a healthy weight, monitoring your blood sugar levels, keeping your doctor appointments, stopping smoking and getting daily exercise – can help you reduce the risk of developing these serious and potentially life-threatening complications.

You also may benefit by taking part in a support group for people with diabetes or in a medically supervised diabetes-management program such as those offered by a hospital or diabetes-care center. These programs usually are led by certified diabetes educators, who teach participants about diabetes coping strategies, blood glucose monitoring, healthy food choices, creative cooking, weight control and exercise.

The American Diabetes Association designated March 22, as Diabetes Alert Day. Visit to take a free online risk assessment and learn whether you are at low, moderate or high risk for type 2 diabetes.

* Joshua Feinberg, D.O., is a family medicine physician in practice at the Crozer Health Pavilion, 145 Brinton Lake Road, Suite 201, Glen Mills, PA 19342, 610-459-1619.

About Crozer Keystone Staff

Crozer-Keystone Health System’s physicians, specialists and advanced practitioners are committed to improving the health of our community through patient-centered, quality care across a full continuum of health services. Crozer Brinton Lake is Crozer-Keystone’s comprehensive outpatient care facility in western Delaware County, offering primary care, specialty services, outpatient surgery and advanced cancer treatment. Contact us: 300 Evergreen Drive, Glen Mills, PA 19342 1-855-254-7425



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