Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One in four may be unaware they have a blood sugar disorder

As a follow-up to last week’s post, I read recently that a hospital in Israel offered a free health screening (see here). Over 1,400 people volunteered for screenings, the vast majority of whom had no known blood sugar problems. The screenings were performed by trained volunteers, and the results were astonishing.

Of the 1,401 volunteers, 228 knew they had diabetes; 21% of the remaining (1,173 individuals) had Dysglycemia. An additional 4.3% had Type 2 Diabetes. That means nearly one in four people had a blood sugar disorder or were pre-diabetic, and they didn’t even know it.

This is of the upmost importance that each of us is aware of our health. Regular physicals and periodic lab tests will help ensure that’s the case. Even if we feel relatively well, we can’t just assume we’re healthy. There may be blood level issues we’re not aware of or are not yet feeling the effects of. And while most of those tested who did discover a disorder tended to be a bit older, had higher blood glucose, a higher body mass index, and a higher systolic blood pressure, many of us who don’t fit into all of those categories could still be at risk.

The second issue, which is perhaps even more pressing, is how widespread this diagnosis is. While this wasn’t a simple random sample of volunteers, it’s reasonable to think 20% to 30% of people are facing the same issue. This grows from a systemic problem where many people don’t care about their health, don’t maintain healthy eating and exercise habits, and aren’t tracking important health indicators.

It’s important for all of us to be aware of what diseases we may be at risk for. And while some people may be aware they’re diabetic or have dysglycemia, there are potentially millions of others who have no idea. The solution, of course, is to not wait; take the steps to improve your health and take them now.

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