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The advice and opinions of this author are not intended to be used as medical advice. Please check with your own personal medical practitioner before initiating or changing treatment for any condition.
The statistics are disheartening. Of the more than 18 million people in the United States with diabetes, more than 5 million are undiagnosed. This population is already at risk for developing silent complications relating to high blood glucose.
The statistics for metabolic syndrome (a risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease) are even worse. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) Web site, statistics compiled during 19881994 estimate that about 47 million U.S. residents have metabolic syndrome. Not only are these numbers out of date, the AHA admits that even this information is limited. Additionally, the number of children and teens with metabolic syndrome is rapidly increasing, although the actual numbers are unknown.
What can you do to identify your risks and have a meaningful discussion with your physician about your concerns? Get educated and partner with your doctor. This is especially important since our healthcare system makes it difficult for physicians to spend as much time with patients as they would like, especially when it comes to prevention. And most insurers don’t cover prevention services. For many patients with diabetes, paying “out of pocket” for an individual counseling session with a certified diabetes educator is worth every penny.
Do You Have the Metabolic Syndrome?
Agree or disagree with the following statements to determine if you might have the metabolic syndrome:
1. My waist is greater than 40 inches (men) or 35 inches (women).
2. My triglycerides are 150 mg/dl or more.
3. My HDL cholesterol is 40 mg/dl or less (men) or 50 mg/dl or less (women).
4. My blood pressure is 130/85 or more.
5. My fasting blood glucose is 110 mg/dl or more.
If you answered “yes” to three or more questions, you may well have the metabolic syndrome.
Since the key to prevention is early identification of people at risk, your answers to the above questions can give your doctor a better picture of how intensively he or she must evaluate you.
Reprinted from “Atkins Diabetes Revolution” (William Morrow, 2004)
How many risk factors for Type 2 diabetes do you have?
I am overweight.
I have excess weight around my waist.
My diet is high in carbohydrates such as
bread, potatoes and pasta.
I eat starchy snack foods/sweets every day.
I exercise fewer than three hours a week.
I am African American, Hispanic American, Asian
American, Native American, or Pacific Islander.
My mother, father, sister, or brother
I had gestational diabetes.
My blood sugar is high.
My blood pressure is high.
I have high triglycerides.
I am over age 45.
Count up your yes answers. The more yes answers you have, the greater the likelihood you will get diabetes—or that you have it already. If you have more than five yes answers, discuss your risk with your doctor as soon as possible.
Reprinted from Atkins Diabetes Revolution, William Morrow, 2004.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.