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The Silent Disease
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Following recent blood tests my doctor informed me that I was borderline diabetic. I was somewhat surprised because I maintain a good diet, am only 10 lbs. overweight, and I do exercise. The other day I happened upon a helpful article in the May/June 2010 Healthy Style newspaper insert. With approximately 18 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes and six million who have the disease and don’t know it, I began to take my doctor’s warning more seriously.

One of the nation’s leading diabetes experts, Dr. Judith Fradkin of the National Institutes of Health, answered some important questions on causes, cure and prevention:

Causes, Cure, and Prevention

"Q. Why are you urging people without symptoms to be tested?

A. Type 2 diabetes is generally a silent disease. Waiting too long after contracting the disease can cause retinal changes that an ophthalmologist could have detected earlier. There can also be other health risks when not discovering the disease in time for effective treatment.

Q. Who is at the highest risk?

A. Type 2 diabetes occurs more often with age. If you are over 45 you should be tested. Native Americans, Hispanics, and African Americans are at higher risks. Obesity is also a risk factor.

Q. Why is type 2 diabetes showing up in so many young children?

A. Type 2 diabetes in young people is diagnosed most often in those who are extremely overweight. The longer the disease goes untreated the greater the risk for future complications. 

Q. Is there a link between diabetes and depression?

A. Depression raises your cortisol levels and makes one more insulin-resistant. Depressed people often do not take care of themselves and this escalates the problem. It’s important to be screened for depression if you have diabetes.

Q. The rate of type 1 diabetes is increasing. Do we know why?

A. Environmental factors can be the problem. Research is being done to find infectious agents. Once these agents are found there is a possibility a vaccine can be developed.

Q. How is treatment improving?

A. Much more information is being gathered to enable doctors to individualize treatment. People’s genetic backgrounds are being looked at to see how they might respond to different drugs. Individualized medicine is in the near future and this will be a help to all."

Don’t put off getting tested for this silent disease. Regardless of how good you feel, you could be at risk. And the best advice out there seems to be this: get proper exercise, maintain your designated weight, and watch your diet. Today is a great day to start. Take control of your life as well as the lives of your family. And yes, I know . . . my extra 10 lbs. has to go.

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By David Snyder. Copyright © 2010 by
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