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Are You Headed for a Diabetes Diagnosis?


March 24 is American Diabetes Alert Day—educate yourself and learn how to prevent joining the millions of Americans who suffer from this disease.

Diabetes by the Numbers

The numbers are startling: The American Diabetes Association reports that 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, have diabetes. Of that number, 8.1 million are undiagnosed. Unfortunately, diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. On top of these statistics, those with diabetes are far more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease than those who do not suffer from the condition.

Yes, this information is worrisome, but educating yourself on the signs and symptoms of diabetes is an excellent weapon against this powerful adversary.

Know the Symptoms

With so many in the country unaware they may even have diabetes, it’s crucial to know the symptoms, which include:

  • Feeling very hungry;
  • Feeling very thirsty;
  • Urinating often;
  • Blurry vision;
  • Extreme fatigue;
  • Slow-healing cuts or bruises; and
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet.

The American Diabetes Association offers an online test to calculate your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Take the test and if you discover you’re at risk, make an appointment with your doctor today—a few simple blood tests can determine your blood glucose levels.


Your doctor may discover you suffer from prediabetes, a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. If you have prediabetes, you should be checked for Type 2 diabetes every one to two years.

The good news here is that a diagnosis of prediabetes is like getting a yellow flag in a soccer match or foul in a basketball game: It’s a warning to stop what you’re doing and reassess things. With early diagnosis and treatment many patients can return their blood glucose levels to a normal range. The easiest changes to make are in your diet and lifestyle. Losing just 7% of your total body weight greatly reduces your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Walking for a mere 30 minutes every day also drops your risk considerably.

Type 2

Type 2 diabetes—once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes—is a condition that affects the way the body metabolizes sugar (glucose), your body’s source of fuel. Although it’s more common in adults, Type 2 diabetes is now on the rise in young children due to an increase of obesity rates in this group. Type 2 diabetes has no cure, but can be managed through medications or insulin therapy, diet, and exercise. Additional problems can be avoided or delayed by keeping a close eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to other serious medical conditions and your risk of experiencing any one of them increases if you choose not to make healthy lifestyle changes. Type 2 diabetes increases your chances of suffering from a multitude of skin conditions; cataracts, glaucoma, and other eye conditions; nerve damage and loss of circulation in your feet, which could lead to amputation; digestive tract complications; and kidney disease.

The most important thing to remember is that Type 2 diabetes is preventable…if you listen to your body. Not watching what you eat, skipping that daily walk, or avoiding regular check-ups and bloodwork at your doctor’s office could lead to serious health issues. Be proactive and take charge of your body now to ensure a long, healthy life.

Dr. David Herminghuysen, at CCHC New Bern Internal Medicine Specialists, is board certified in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism. He is currently accepting new patients and would be happy to discuss any concerns you may have about your kidney health and provide any education materials you might need. To make an appointment, call 252-633-5333.

Keywords: diabetes, Type 2, prediabetes, glucose, obesity, insulin, risk, adult-onset, Herminghuysen, CCHC, internal medicine, endocrinology, metabolism, heart attack, kidney disease, amputation, nerve damage, feet