According to a report, authored by Ann Albright – the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Diabetes Translation – only 11 percent of the estimated 79 million Americans at risk for diabetes are aware of the threat to their health. The rest are oblivious to the preliminary onset of a condition known as prediabetes.
Prediabetes describes a higher-than-normal blood sugar level which is an early precursor to diabetes. Before people develop type 2 diabetes they almost always have prediabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder and is the most common form of diabetes; characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States, 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes.
The symptoms of prediabetes and diabetes are frequent urination (polyuria), increased thirst (polydipsia), a history of blurred vision, peripheral neuropathy, slow to heal bruising and wounds, reoccurring infections, and fatigue.
Type 2 diabetes is typically associated with a shorter life expectancy due to a number of complications with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including ischemic heart disease and stroke; an increase in lower limb amputations, and frequent hospitalizations.
Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic blindness and kidney failure, and creates complications associated with sexual dysfunction, persistent infections, and problems with circulation.
Excessive bodyweight, a sedentary lifestyle, a consistently poor diet, and a family history (genetic component) can contribute to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
The federal health report, published in Morbidity, suggests people should take the first step and visit their doctor, have their blood sugar levels checked and discuss the likelihood of risk. Researchers found the numbers of those unaware disturbing – affecting people of all incomes, education, health insurance, and access to healthcare.
Albright noted that 30 percent or more of those with prediabetes will develop full-blown diabetes over the course of a decade. Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. Exercise and diet can reduce the onset of diabetes by 58 percent.
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