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Office Visit: How You Can Defeat Diabetes

By Todd Hoffman, M.D.
Note: This article appeared as a guest column in the Journal Record 

Knowledge and early detection are two valuable tools when it comes to diabetes.

A National Diabetes Statistics Report estimates that 37.3 million Americans have diabetes. According to the same report, approximately 96 million American adults, or 38% of the total adult U.S. population, would qualify as prediabetic. At least 80% of those do not know they are prediabetic.

Like several other diagnosis, prediabetes can have a variety of symptoms. Increased thirst, frequent urination, increased appetite or fatigue, blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the feet or hands, frequent infections and slow-healing sores are some of the signs. Many people diagnosed with prediabetes had no such symptoms.

Prediabetics have a higher-than-normal blood sugar level, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes are required, otherwise those diagnosed will be at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Long-term effects of diabetes, particularly those who are undiagnosed or untreated, can include heart, blood vessel and kidney damage.

BCBSIL CMO Dr. Todd Hoffman

Todd Hoffman, M.D.

April is Defeat Diabetes Month and a reminder that progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes can be slowed and, in some cases, even reversed. A healthy diet, regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can help bring blood sugar levels to a normal range.

If you have signs of prediabetes, or if it’s been a while since your last wellness visit, don’t put it off any longer. Make an appointment with your primary care physician today. You’ll be glad you made the appointment. It may be the visit that enables you to tell your own defeat diabetes story.

Make it a good month!

Todd Hoffman, M.D., C.P.E., is chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, a division of Health Care Service Corp., a Mutual Legal Reserve Company.

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association