More than 30 million adults in the U.S. have diabetes, and one in four don’t even know they have it. Rachel Fox, a nurse practitioner at Saint Thomas Health, joined us on Community Health Matters during National Diabetes Month to discuss prevention and treatment of the widespread health condition. View her segment here.

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2015, 9.4 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes and another 84.1 million have prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.

Individuals can be at-risk for developing prediabetes if they are over the age of 45, overweight, are physically active less than three times a week, or have had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds. There is also a very strong hereditary component and people may be predisposed to develop diabetes if they have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes or are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian or Alaska Native.

Indications that someone may be developing prediabetes or diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be exhibiting symptoms of prediabetes, consult a healthcare provider. Diabetes is seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and individuals with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health complications including premature death, adult-onset blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and amputation of toes, feet or legs.

Maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in physical activity, managing your blood sugar level and monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol level are all ways to prevent or help manage diabetes.

To learn more about the risks of this life-threatening disease and how to prevent it, please visit Diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES.

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Community Health Matters airs on the second Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. Central Time, with an encore showing on the second Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m Central.