Best Life: Lowering the age for diabetes screening

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 6:27 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 17, 2021 at 6:28 AM CST
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Cleveland, Ohio. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, and it also contributes to kidney failure, poor circulation, and potentially, limb amputation. Now a national panel of experts in disease prevention has looked at recent clinical findings and is changing the screening guidelines.

About 160 million Americans are overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk for developing type two diabetes. The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force has now lowered the recommended age for the first screening in overweight and obese adults from age 40 to age 35.

“Basically, we do blood draw, and we look for what’s called a fasting glucose. We also check a hemoglobin a1c test, which is a marker of your blood sugar over a three-month period of time,” says Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis, MD

People with diabetes sometimes have excessive thirst, fatigue, and weight loss. But sometimes, they have no symptoms. The new recommendations also address prediabetes, higher than normal blood sugar that has not progressed to diabetes, yet. Prediabetes can increase your risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

“We do know that about 24% of people who are aged 18 to 44 have prediabetes. So, it’s conceivable that by screening these people earlier, we’ll be catching this earlier, especially when some people don’t have symptoms.”

Dr. Kellis says lifestyle changes, starting with losing seven to ten percent of a person’s body weight could help people with prediabetes bring their blood sugar levels into a normal range and reduce the risk of diabetes by 58 percent.

Dr. Kellis says according to one new study, between 2001 and 2017, the risk of diabetes in people aged 19 and younger nearly doubled. She says the increase of diabetes not only in adults but in a much younger population, underscores the need for early screening and intervention.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.

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