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Diabetes: You may be at risk without realizing it


Diabetes: You may be at risk without realizing it

More than 33 million Americans live with Type 2 diabetes, making it one of the nation’s most common chronic illnesses. The good news? It’s a disease that can often be delayed or
Type 2 diabetes is a serious health condition that occurs when the body doesn’t respond normally to insulin, which can cause blood sugar to be abnormally elevated. It can significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, skin conditions and even dementia.
However, Type 2 diabetes takes time to develop, and lifestyle choices can significantly reduce a person’s risk for the disease.

Common condition

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 97 million American adults – more than one-third of adults in the U.S. — have prediabetes, which means that an individual’s blood sugar level is higher than normal but not quite high enough to be classified as diabetes.

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Concerningly, however, up to 80 percent of people with prediabetes aren’t aware of it.
“When we screen for it, we’re able to catch those individuals early in the process and inform them as to what’s going on so they can take steps to improve their health,” says Dr. Vinh Doan, a family medicine physician at Tidelands Family Medicine at Prince Creek. “That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to take a proactive approach to your health and develop a relationship with a primary care provider.”

Steps to take

Some people have prediabetes for years but don’t present with any noticeable symptoms, according to the CDC. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends asymptomatic screening for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes in adults ages 35 to 70 years old who are overweight or have obesity. Screening may be considered earlier for certain populations who may be at higher risk; talk to your care provider to determine whether you should be screened and learn about the types of screening available.
The high incidence of diabetes in our region is one reason Tidelands Health, our region’s largest health care provider, developed the not-for-profit organization’s diabetes prevention program.

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The community-based effort, which has full recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers education and support to help people improve their health and delay or
prevent the onset of diabetes. Classes are held in churches, community centers and businesses.
Individuals interested in participating can simply send an email to
“If we intervene early before someone develops diabetes, we can delay or reverse it completely,” Dr. Doan says. “People who go through the diabetes prevention program, follow
through and finish have good outcomes.”

Meet the Expert

Vinh Doan

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Dr. Vinh Doan, a graduate of the Tidelands Health MUSC Family Medicine Residency Program, is a family medicine physician who offers care at Tidelands Health Family Medicine at Prince Creek.

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