The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that 23.6 million people in the United States have diabetes. Of these children and adults, the ADA says that up to 25% are unaware they have the disease. In an effort to raise awareness, the ADA set aside March 23, 2010 as Diabetes Alert Day. Tomorrow Aventura Hospital and Medical Center presents Diabetes Alert Day activities, including screening and health education lectures. We also encourage patients to learn more about preventing and detecting diabetes.
Just as cancer can be detected in its preliminary stages, diabetes can be caught in its prediabetes stage. Studies have shown that lifestyle changes–like incorporating moderate exercise and improving diet-can either delay or completely prevent the onset of full-blown diabetes. Doctors may recommend one or more tests to detect diabetes:
- Fasting plasma glucose test: The patient fasts overnight and gets a blood glucose reading in the morning.
- Oral glucose tolerance test: This test starts with a fasting plasma glucose test. Then the patient drinks a sugary drink. The health care provider measures glucose levels again, two hours after the patient consumes the drink.
- Hemoglobin A1c: This test requires no fasting, because it tracks patients’ glucose levels over a three-month span.
Prediabetes carries the same health risks as diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke, and obesity. Meanwhile people with prediabetes show the same levels of elevated blood pressure and cholesterol. Because of these health risks, physicians highly recommend lifestyle changes for prediabetic patients:
- Reduce weight by 5-10%
- Exercise at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week
- Limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day for women, or two drinks a day for men
Some doctors also recommend drug therapy for prediabetic patients, but the efficacy of drug treatment remains controversial. Most physicians tout lifestyle changes instead, not only because they reduce likelihood of diabetes, but also because they positively impact overall health.
To learn more about diabetes, join us tomorrow at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center. Dr. Michael Braun, Chief of Cardiology, will discuss “Preventing Heart Disease and Diabetes,” while Heather Katz, Certified Dietitian and Clinical Nutrition Manager presents “Dealing with Diabetes and Your Diet.” Other members of the Aventura medical faculty will offer screenings and answer questions. To get more information or register for the event, please call 1-888-256-7692.