Early diabetes detection is key
In Oklahoma, more than 1 out of every 3 people you pass in the store or sit with in a movie theatre or restaurant are on a path to developing diabetes. Most of them don’t even know it.
That’s why awareness and early diagnosis are critical. Once diagnosed with diabetes, there is no cure. Many of our friends and neighbors are not aware of their risk, though Oklahoma has one of the highest diabetes rates in the nation.
According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 451,888 Oklahomans, or 14.3 percent of the adult population, have diabetes. More than 1 million Oklahomans – 36.9 percent of the adult population – have prediabetes.
In my work as a diabetes care specialist, I see every day how dangerous and painful diabetes can be if it’s undetected, untreated or uncontrolled. It’s not a problem that goes away. If left untreated, it only gets worse and could lead to blindness, amputations and more.
The disease sometimes shows few symptoms at first, but early diagnosis is key to successful treatment and avoiding serious complications in the future. Though there is no cure, healthy lifestyle habits can help to successfully manage the disease.
Everyone can reduce their risk and even those with prediabetes can slow its progress with a few simple steps.
Actions like eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight are key. Controlling cholesterol, watching for high blood pressure and not smoking also reduce your risk.
Early detection is vital. If you have risk factors for diabetes, it’s important to have your blood glucose level tested. Make an appointment and chat with a medical professional today.
Diabetes is a problem that you can’t start treating soon enough.
Leah Melton is a nurse practitioner specializing in diabetes care. She is board certified in Advanced Diabetes Management through the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She practices in Norman.