Dr. Andrew Petersen, a leading expert in Thyroid Disorder, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Hormonal Disorders talked about this staggering epidemic on Midday.
Dr. Petersen says twenty-three million Americans have diabetes, and one-quarter of them don't realize it until they have other health problems. Experts know these people exist -- even if they don't know themselves -- by extrapolating from big government health surveys that include blood tests.
A surprising number of adults have elevated blood-sugar levels that meet the criteria for diabetes but have never had symptoms or ignored them. The numbers would no doubt be higher if they included children, since Type 2 diabetes is being found at ages as young as 4.
Additionally, many people who believe they're "borderline diabetic" or have "a touch of diabetes" think that they're safe. However, research has shown that some long-term damage is being done to the body, especially to the heart and circulatory system.
Diabetes is a condition where the cells become resistant to the hormone insulin. Insulin is the hormone that lowers blood sugar, so in order to keep blood sugar levels normal, the body must produce increasing levels of insulin. This increased insulin production results in continual weight gain and an increased risk for heart disease and cancer.
The first symptoms -- including fatigue, excessive thirst and frequent urination -- often don't appear until the excess sugar has been damaging blood vessels for 10 years or more.
The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.
Common symptoms of diabetes:
•Feeling very thirsty
•Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating
•Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
•Weight loss - even though you are eating more (type 1)
•Tinging, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
Early detection and treatment of diabetes are critical and can decrease the risk of developing severe complications, such as:
•Heart Disease – People with diabetes have a higher risk for heart attack and stroke.
•Eye Complications – People with diabetes have a higher risk of blindness and other vision problems.
•Kidney Disease – Diabetes can damage the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure.
•Nerve Damage (neuropathy) – Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves that run through the body.
•Foot Problems – Nerve damage, infections of the feet, and problems with blood flow to the feet can be caused by diabetes.
•Skin Complications – Diabetes can cause skin problems, such as infections, sores, and itching. Skin problems are sometimes a first sign that someone has diabetes.
•Dental Disease – Diabetes can lead to problems with teeth and gums, called gingivitis and periodontitis.
About 24 million Americans have diabetes, about half of whom are women. As many as one quarter do not know they have diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs at about the same rate in men and women, but it is more common in Caucasians than in other ethnic groups. Type 2 diabetes is more common in older people, mainly in people who are overweight. It is more common in African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans/Latinos, and American Indians.
If you're at least 45 years old, you should get tested for diabetes, and then you should be tested again every 3 years. If you're 45 or older and overweight you may want to get tested more often. If you're younger than 45, overweight, and have one or more of the risk factors you should get tested now. Ask your doctor for a blood glucose or A1c test. Your doctor will tell you if you have normal blood glucose (blood sugar), pre-diabetes, or diabetes.
The risk factors for type 1 diabetes are unknown. Things that can put you at risk for type 2 diabetes include:
•Age — being older than 45
•Overweight or obesity
•Family history — having a mother, father, brother, or sister with diabetes
•Race/ethnicity — your family background is African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic-American/Latino, Asian-American/Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian
•Having a baby with a birth weight more than 9 pounds
•Having diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
•High blood pressure — 140/90 mmHg or higher. Both numbers are important. If one or both numbers are usually high, you have high blood pressure.
•High cholesterol — total cholesterol over 240 mg/dL
•Inactivity — exercising less than 3 times a week
•Abnormal results in a prior diabetes test
•Having other health conditions that are linked to problems using insulin, like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
•Having a history of heart disease or stroke
Type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults, but it's a lifelong condition. If you have this type of diabetes, your body does not make insulin, so you must take insulin every day. Treatment for type 1 diabetes includes taking insulin shots or using an insulin pump, making healthy food choices, getting regular physical activity, taking aspirin daily (for many people), and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes — about 9 out of 10 people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. You can get type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. In type 2 diabetes, your body makes insulin, but the insulin can't do its job, so glucose is not getting into the cells. Treatment includes taking medicine, making healthy food choices, getting regular physical activity, taking aspirin daily (for many people), and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body generally produces less and less insulin over time. This means that you may need to increase your medications or start using insulin in order to keep your diabetes in good control.
Dr. Petersen says his laboratory testing can detect pre-diabetes 20 years earlier than the standard blood test, thus we can actually prevent diabetes. We have achieved excellent success in reversing those already diagnosed, as well as, preventing any future health complications.
For more information on Holtorf Medical Group call (801) 821-5384 or visit: Holtorf Medical Group.