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La Prensa: 10 Facts About Diabetes You Need to Know

by Maria Palafox, MD

 I am not a diabetes doctor, but I see many patients in my surgical practice where diabetes and eating habits have contributed to their problem. I am also pre-diabetic. These facts were obtained from the Joslin Diabetes Center website, a product of Harvard Medical School:

1. El diabetes no duele. Diabetes does not hurt. Most people with type 2 diabetes, the most common type, have no symptoms. Just because you feel fine doesn’t mean you do not have it.
2. About 1/3 of people with diabetes do not know they have it. Usually simple blood tests will be enough to diagnose you; if you do not go to the doctor, they can’t test you. Don’t doctor yourself!

3. One close relative with diabetes makes it four times more likely you will get diabetes; two relatives with diabetes makes you eight times more likely to get diabetes. This is true whether you are tall, short, overweight, skinny, bald, redheaded, whatever. Get checked!  Again, you may feel fine, but if you are at risk, you need to be checked every year by your doctor.

4. Diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar. For most people, it’s not what we eat, but how much. Five tortillas to scoop up those wonderful frijolitos are delicious, but one tortilla is a better choice. Use a fork for the rest.

5. Meals for diabetics are not much different from what the rest of us are supposed to eat. Diabetic meals include vegetables, have less fat, and are smaller portions. We all know that’s how we are supposed to eat, we just do not.

6. High triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood, and high blood pressure gives you a higher chance of getting diabetes. These combined with low HDL (good) cholesterol and obesity are known as metabolic syndrome, which increases risk of heart disease.

7. People with diabetes are twice as likely to get heart disease

8. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults. This is from years of uncontrolled diabetes. If you don’t know you have it, you can’t control it. See your doctor!

9. Weight loss surgery can significantly reduce the symptoms of diabetes. Talk to one of our Southside weight loss surgeons, Dr. Rene Jaso, to see if this is the right choice for you.

10. If you are at risk, diabetes can be prevented with moderate weight loss (10-15 lbs) and 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. Being at work all day does not count as exercise. If it did, all of us would be skinny.

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