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November 2006: Unsuspecting Millions at Risk For Diabetes

01 Nov 2006

The Wound Healing Center at Weiss specializes in the treatment of chronic wounds and non-responsive conditions and offers hospital-based outpatient wound care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy as well as disease management and diabetes care.

Unsuspecting Millions at Risk For Diabetes 
41 million have pre-diabetes as nation observes American Diabetes Month in November 

Wound Healing Center
Weiss Memorial Hospital
Phone: (773) 564-6075
Fax:(773) 564-6076

This November, as the nation observes American Diabetes Month, attention will focus upon the 18 million Americans coping with the disease. Yet more than twice that number, 41 million adults, have pre-diabetes symptoms and may not even be aware they are at risk.

"Statistically, someone's chances of getting diabetes are high and getting higher all the time," according to Dr. Shirley Roy, Medical Director of the Wound Healing Center at Weiss Memorial Hospital, which treats diabetic ulcers. "The number of adults with diabetes rose 45 percent during the 1990s and we see the increase here at the Wound Center since 15 percent of people with diabetes experience a foot ulcer. Of those, many will develop a chronic wound that, if not properly treated, could lead in the most severe cases to amputation. The majority of people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes and more than half of them might be able to delay or prevent the onset of the disease with simple lifestyle changes."

Dr. Roy offers these tips for finding out if you are at risk for pre-diabetes:

  • Assess your risk. Passing your 40th birthday, being overweight and having a family history of diabetes will increase your risk. It is also more prevalent among African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asian Americans.
  • The American Diabetes Association suggests overweight people 45 and older have their blood glucose level tested during their next routine doctor visit. If levels are normal, the organization suggests being retested every three years. A test every one to two years is in order if elevated levels determine pre-diabetes.
  • The Diabetes Prevention Program studies, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, showed that diet and exercise worked better than medication in delaying the onset of diabetes. A loss of five to ten percent of body weight combined with a daily dose of 30-minute exercise resulted in a 58 percent reduction in diabetes.
  • Inspect your feet every day for injuries you may not feel and seek treatment for wounds that take more than 30 days to heal.
  • For many people, a diagnosis of the vision problem diabetic retinopathy is one of the first signs of diabetes even though they may not be experiencing any eye pain or vision problems. Schedule annual eye exams where drops are administered to enlarge the pupils allowing the eye care professional to see inside the eyes.
  • Quit smoking. It can lead to hardening of the arteries and higher glucose and cholesterol levels in the blood, aggravating those same diabetic conditions.

For more information on managing diabetes or to set up an appointment, call the Wound Healing Center at Weiss at (773) 564-6075.