10 Silent Signs of Diabetes from Reader’s Digest- Words worth sharing

Reader’s Digest isn’t my first choice for medical information (although I love their human interest stories). But 10 Silent Signs of Diabetes is worth reading, especially if you are at risk of diabetes (read further to find out if you are.)

Diabetes mellitus type 2, sometimes called “sugar diabetes”, is one reason  I have posted several articles about obesity. Obesity is strongly associated with diabetes. People who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of developing diabetes, and if they are diabetic, their blood glucose (sugar) will be more difficult to control. Unfortunately, some of the medicines used to treat diabetes cause weight gain, or at least make weight loss difficult.

Diabetes and obesity are interrelated; we don't always know which came first.
Diabetes and obesity are interrelated; we don’t always know which came first.

Diabetes is a serious disease. People recognize cancer, heart disease, stroke, AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease as serious, but tend to pay little heed to diabetes. They would be more concerned if they realized that diabetes directly contributes to many other conditions with can decrease quality as well as length of life.

Diabetes directly causes 

  1. atherosclerosis, a fancy name for narrowed or blocked arteries, the blood vessels that carry oxygen rich blood; depending on which arteries this can lead to heart attacks, stroke, loss of vision-retinopathy,  limb pain and amputation
  2. loss of kidney function, called nephropathy, which can progress into ESRD (end stage renal disease)
  3. damage to nerves, causing painful neuropathy with numbness and tingling in the feet, impotence, bowel and bladder dysfunction, dizziness among other symptoms.
Heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States.
Heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States.

Now there is good news.

First, diabetes is easy to diagnose; a simple blood test, sometimes repeated for confirmation, can find it quickly.

Second, through a combination of lifestyle  and medication, diabetes can be controlled effectively.

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Diabetes is treated with a combination of diet, exercise, and medication. Many diabetic persons monitor their blood sugar regularly.

Anyone can develop diabetes; even children and teenagers are developing it now. We know that some people are are greater risk- so they should be tested for possible diabetes at more frequent intervals. But anyone with the symptoms mentioned in the article should be tested immediately.

Persons at higher than average risk include 

older age, especially over age 40

overweight/obese persons

women with history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)

Black, Native American and Hispanic persons in the United States;  (worldwide ,various other ethnic groups are at higher risk)

Family history of diabetes, especially if in a parent or sibling

Persons with high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol

Are you at risk for prediabetes? More info here from the AMA and the CDC

It is especially important to control blood pressure and cholesterol when diabetes is present.
It is especially important to control blood pressure and cholesterol when diabetes is present.

Links to additional downloadable resources about diabetes are available at the Epocrates website.

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