In the United States, 30 million adults ages 18 and older are living with diabetes and 84 million contend with prediabetes. And the numbers are growing. That makes this an important public health …
In the United States, 30 million adults ages 18 and older are living with diabetes and 84 million contend with prediabetes. And the numbers are growing. That makes this an important public health problem. As such, there are suitable screening tests, which are important as an early asymptomatic stage exists. Early treatment during the asymptomatic stage improves the long-term outcome.
Diabetes is actually a vascular disease that causes buildup of plaque in the blood vessels which is known as atherosclerosis. This process is caused by irritation and inflammation in the vascular beds (or blood vessel systems). This can result in heart attack, stroke or infection/inflammation of the lower extremities due to plaquing in the small arteries of the lower legs, depending on which vascular bed is affected. It also causes retinopathy, which is a disease of the eyes due to clogged blood vessels in the retina as well as neuropathy due to problems with the blood vessels involved with nerves.
In light of the relatively long asymptomatic period that exists, screening tests are very important. These tests include glycated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1 C) which is a buildup of glucose on the red blood cell. We can also use fasting glucose and the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) which is a two-hour test following administration of 75 grams of sugar water. These tests are all available at Powell Valley Healthcare. Early identification of diabetes allows interventions to prevent or limit cardiovascular disease.
Other factors which may amplify the risk of diabetes mellitus include family history of diabetes as well as hypertension and high cholesterol. There are scoring systems for risk factor assessment that have been established by the CDC and the American Diabetes Association.
Lifestyle intervention programs aimed at weight loss and increased activity levels, and medications such as metformin, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in high risk individuals. Here at PVHC we have providers who can screen for diabetes as well as treat diabetes and we have diabetes education, which is very important to prevent the complications associated with the disease.
Our diabetes educators are hosting their second Prevent T2 program beginning in March 2021. If you have prediabetes, this program can help you reverse the full onset of diabetes and ultimately prevent cardiovascular health problems in the future.
For more information on the Prevent T2 program, please call Tina Braet-Thomas at 307-754-2267, extension 3604.
(Dr. Brian Kelly is a cardiologist at Powell Valley Healthcare.)