Undetected diabetes is on the rise — how do you catch it before it’s too late?

More than 20 million Americans have diabetes, and almost one-third are not aware that they have it. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, leg infections, and other serious health problems. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may have no symptoms. Or, you may have very mild symptoms that develop so gradually you don’t even notice them. Screening blood tests to detect diabetes and pre-diabetes are recommended at least every three years for people who are 45 or older, and for people who are under 45 and are overweight or who have another risk factor for diabetes.

Sometimes the following symptoms will occur:

• Frequent urination, especially at night

• Excessive thirst

• Blurred vision or sudden vision changes

• Feeling very tired much of the time

• Being hungrier than usual

• Unexplained weight loss

• Sores that are slow to heal

• More infections than usual, such as urinary tract infections

• Itchy, very dry skin

How is diabetes diagnosed?

Diabetes is diagnosed if the levels of glucose in your blood are too high. Your doctor can test your blood and tell if you have diabetes.

For more information about diabetes, or to schedule a diabetes self-management class, contact Martha Fuhrman, St. Mary’s diabetes educator, at (573) 761-7000, ext. 3032, or martha_fuhrman@ssmhc.com.