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Holiday Season Dangerous for Undiagnosed Diabetics

Dec 26th, 2012

Undiagnosed DiabeticsExcessive eating and drinking during the holidays can be dangerous for type 2 diabetics who are unaware of their condition, one expert says.

“As tempting and tasty as it might be, eating high-fat foods with excess calories, carbohydrates and salt will put people who don’t know they have the disease at great risk,” diabetes specialist Dr. Dale Hamilton of the Methodist Hospital said in a news release. “The most common cause of death from type 2 diabetes is heart disease and stroke,” he added.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease wherein the body’s cells lose its ability to utilize insulin properly. Consequently, sugar cannot enter the cells and builds up in the blood. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 26 million people suffer from type 2 diabetes, and around 7 million of them don’t know they have the disease.

There are numerous health risks associated with diabetes and it’s important for people to find out if they are undiagnosed diabetics, Dr. Hamilton says.

Early symptoms of type 2 diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, and high blood sugar level.

Risk factors include obesity, older age, sedentary lifestyle, and a family history of the disease.

“The high blood sugar weakens the immune system so a person might catch a cold that they cannot shake or develop an infection that doesn’t heal,” Dr. Hamilton said. “I recommend checking your blood sugar frequently with a device that can be purchased at your local pharmacy. If you are between 126 and 200 mg/dL, you are at risk for type 2 diabetes.”

He recommends cutting down on carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta, white rice, white bread, cookies, and potatoes. Consumption of salty foods such as ham, cheese, and olives should also be limited. These food items can cause heart strain and elevate blood pressure, leading to chest pain, difficulty of breathing, and heart failure.

“If you know you are going to eat one big meal with your family or friends, reducing the number of calories the meals before and after will help,” Dr. Hamilton said. “Being aware of what you are eating will not only give you a chance at a happy holiday season, but a happy 2013 and beyond.”

Source: VISTA Health Solutions

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