Early diabetes detection can prevent serious complications

According to the American Diabetes Association, over 7 million people are living with undiagnosed diabetes and 1 in every 3 Americans are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

The warning signs of diabetes can go undetected because they are easy to miss and may not seem out of the ordinary. Common signs include frequent urination, increased thirst, extreme fatigue, blurred vision, and weight loss. If you think you may be showing signs of diabetes, it is important to take action early on and contact your doctor to start discussing management of the disease.  

“Early detection of diabetes can help prevent or delay complications,” said Brittany Girard, RN and coordinator of diabetes education for McLaren Flint. “Diabetes can cause problems with your heart, nerves, eyes, kidneys, and blood vessels if it is not managed properly. If you have undiagnosed diabetes, your risk of a stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and coronary artery disease are increased. That is why it is so important to be regularly screened for diabetes if you are at risk.”

The disease is most common in people who are at least 45 years old, are overweight or obese, or have high blood pressure. Genetics also plays a role in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Warning signs can also be evident in children. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, 187,000 children and adolescents have diabetes. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms your child may be experiencing. 

“Discuss with your doctor to determine if you are at risk and should be screened,” said Girard. “There are also online screening tools that can help you determine if you may develop diabetes or may be undiagnosed. The American Diabetes Association has a risk screening tool that is free and simple to use.”

This tool may be found at mclaren.org/main/diabetes-services. Click on “Diabetes Risk Test” under the Downloads & Links section.

McLaren offers a Diabetes Self-Management Education program for people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. By attending these classes, you can learn more about how to manage the disease. These classes are taught by both a registered nurse and a registered dietician. They can help to develop a plan to monitor the disease, manage blood glucose levels, prevent complications, and balance a healthy diet and physical activity.

Click here to learn more about diabetes education services at McLaren Flint, or call (810) 342-5506.