Diabetes Epidemic Growing

Dr. Andrew Sussman on The Early Show's Healthwatch. CBS

The United States saw a 136 percent increase in the number of people with diabetes between 1980 and 2007. Now, nearly 24 million Americans have the disease.

Dr. Andrew Sussman, Associate Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark discussed the continuing epidemic with co-anchor Harry Smith on "The Early Show" Tuesday, outlining the risk factors of getting it and certain mile-markers to watch out for as you get older.

Although diabetes is avoidable, certain factors play a large role in whether a person is more likely to get it.

Family history is very important, as well as age. People 55 and older are much more susceptible to diabetes, and certain populations, such as African-Americans or Hispanic-Americans, are at greater risk.

You should always watch out for warning signs, Sussman says, incluing "frequent thirst, frequent urination, tingling in the hands and feet, blurry vision, and overall fatigue. Some patients have very mild symptoms. Some have no symptoms at all. So if you have a concern, talk to your health care provider about getting screened. Early treatment can help patients feel better and studies have shown help prevent some of the long term complications."

If you do have diabetes, it's very important to manage it properly. While it's a lifelong process, it begins with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Many times, a ten pound weight loss can make a big difference.

Managing diabetes can become expensive, but many organizations, such as CVS, are developing programs are to help keep down the cost.

For more information on diabetes and the full interview, click on links and the video below.

CVS Caremark


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