It sounds impossible: Could someone have one of the most common chronic diseases on earth and remain unaware of it? But the truth is, this is the reality for millions of Americans.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and while many think that diabetes is a disease that primarily affects Americans, statistics have shown that diabetes is on the rise across the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are roughly 371 million people worldwide living with diabetes, and that figure is projected to increase to 552 million by the year 2030. But perhaps even more alarming is that the IDF estimates that worldwide, 187 million people do not yet know that they have diabetes.
How could so many people be unaware that they have diabetes? We have been asked that many times. Patients may be surprised to learn that they have diabetes even though they “feel fine,” and they may have no family history of diabetes. Many symptoms of diabetes are easily overlooked or often dismissed as harmless when they should be examined closely. Early treatment of diabetes can help patients avoid some serious complications, which can include blindness and even foot amputation.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
● Extreme thirst
● Cuts or bruises that heal slowly
● Urinating often
● Extreme fatigue
● Weight loss despite eating more
● Pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation in hands and feet.
While these symptoms are typical, some with type 2 diabetes may have symptoms that are so mild that they are virtually unnoticed. This is why it is important to have regular blood work completed as part of an annual physical. Speak with your physician about your fasting blood sugar levels and discuss any symptoms or problems you may be having. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes . . . don’t you think it is important to know if you are one of them?