November 4, 2011


HOHENWALD – According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million people in the United States are living with diabetes. It is projected that as many as one in three American adults may have the disease by 2050. During American Diabetes Month, Lewis Health Center (LHC) offers information on the risk factors for diabetes as well as steps that may help to prevent the disease.

“Millions of Americans have trouble keeping their blood sugar level below 126, but do not realize they are at risk for diabetes. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and even death without proper treatment,” said Dr. Jawaid Kamal, a physician at LHC who is board certified in internal medicine.

Diabetes is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin, which is necessary for the body to convert glucose into energy. There are several forms of diabetes, including type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, in which the body either does not produce enough insulin or does not use the insulin. Those at greatest risk for type 2 diabetes include:

  • People over age 45
  • Those with a family history of diabetes
  • Those who are overweight
  • People who fail to get regular exercise
  • African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asian-Americans
  • Women who had gestational diabetes, or who have had a baby whose birth weight was nine pounds or more

“Your risk of having diabetes can be lowered by maintaining a diet that is low in fat and calories and includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains,” said Dr. Kamal. “In addition, getting the proper amount of physical exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the likelihood that you will have diabetes.”

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, and high blood pressure. For those with diabetes and those at risk for the disease, keeping blood sugar levels under control can help to prevent complications.

If you believe that you or a family member may be at risk for diabetes or have trouble keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range, seek a physician’s advice on the best plan of treatment.