Evaluation, treatment if needed, may keep threat of diabetes at bay

If you’re packing a few too many pounds, suffer from hypertension or have polycystic ovary syndrome, consider this: You’re also a candidate to develop type 2 diabetes.

Data from the National Institutes of Health estimate that approximately 23.6 million Americans have diabetes, a chronic condition characterized by high blood glucose levels. Uncontrolled diabetes may result in blindness, kidney damage, heart disease, stroke and amputations. Early diagnosis and intervention are essential to slowing the disease process.

Dr. Alice Chang, an endocrinologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says that health care professionals can help patients effectively control their diabetes and reduce or eliminate potential complications.

“Diabetes is not only treatable, but type 2 diabetes is preventable through exercise, diet and other lifestyle changes,” she said.

Other risk factors include having a family history of the disease; having a sedentary lifestyle or a history of gestational diabetes; and being of Latino/Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, Native American or Pacific Islander descent.

“For people with these risk factors, it’s especially important to ask your physician for a blood screen that tests for diabetes and pre-diabetes,” Dr. Chang says.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.

Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear

Return to November 2010 News Tips