LIVINGSTON — Currently, nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, and a quarter of them, 7 million, do not even know they have it. An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have pre-diabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
To help raise awareness, March 27 has been designated American Diabetes Association Alert Day® — a one-day, “wake-up call” asking the American public to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The test, available at www.diabetes.org, is simple and can be complete in minutes.
“Everyone should be aware of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes,” explains Ashish Parikh, MD, FACP, Program Director of the Internal Medicine Faculty Program and Director of the Internal Medicine Faculty Practice at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. “People who are overweight, under active (living a sedentary lifestyle) and over the age of 45 should consider themselves at risk for the disease.” He adds that African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and people who have a family history of the disease also are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, diagnosis often comes 7 to 10 years after the onset of the disease, after disabling and even deadly complications have had time to develop. Dr. Parikh stresses that early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, eye damage or nerve damage that can lead to amputations.
“Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because patients have no symptoms or the symptoms seem so harmless and oftentimes normal,” Dr. Parikh explains. “People with type 2 diabetes can live for years without realizing that they have the disease.” He encourages people to take the American Heart Association’s Diabetes Risk Test and to speak with their physician about their risk of developing diabetes and preventative measures they can take.
The Internal Medicine Faculty Practice at Saint Barnabas is a teaching practice affiliated with Saint Barnabas Medical Center, a leading community teaching hospital. Through association with the Medical Center, patients have access to all the advanced technology, resources, and research activities available at Saint Barnabas. The practice offers comprehensive medical care with an emphasis on prevention and health maintenance for both healthy persons and those with multiple, complex medical problems in a spacious office setting. Being an academic teaching practice, each patient is thoroughly evaluated by both a resident and an attending physician, and therapeutic decisions are made utilizing evidence-based medicine. The Internal Medicine Faculty Practice is a NCQA recognized Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home. The Practice is conveniently located across the street from Saint Barnabas at 101 Old Short Hills Road, Suite 106, West Orange, N.J. To learn more, call 1-973-322-6256.
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