PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - In alarming numbers, more people are learning they have diabetes.
That impacted population is getting younger.
Dr. Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis from the Cleveland Clinic says the trend is disturbing and prompting an alert.
"The task force changed the guidelines and reduce the age of screening of people with obesity and overweight to 35 years old instead of 40 years old," she explains.
Diabetes can no longer be considered something that only happens to older people.
"Screening early makes sense, diabetes is on the rise, obesity is on the rise, we're seeing diabetes in much greater incidence in our youth," Dr. Kellis says.
It is impacting people in an age group that never used to give diabetes a thought but Dr. Kellis says the consequences are serious.
"It is the leading cause of blindness it can cause bleeding behind the eyes," she says. "It can affect kidney function, it can affect the nerves and cause nerve damage. It can cause erectile dysfunction. It can even affect mental health and mood. So it's very important that we address this as soon as we know that someone has this disease."
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Specifically, you should be tested "If you're over the age of 35, and you have a BMI over 25 or 30, then you can be screened for pre-diabetes or diabetes with this blood test."
And if your glucose levels put you in pre-diabetes, Type II or Type I treatment may require medication but will definitely involve lifestyle changes.
Dr. Kellis says it starts with "seeing a nutritionist, increasing exercise, reducing refined sugars, white bread, white pasta, eliminating all sugary beverages and desserts, and weight loss."
How much exercise?
"We recommend 150 minutes a week, and which could be broken, you know, broken down during the week," Dr. Kellis says. "If you're someone who never exercises you know, just getting up out of the couch and walking after your meals is a great start."
Then she says to add some 'soft weights' and advance on to activities like yoga, pilates, or cycling.
Dr. Kellis says during this National Diabetes Awareness Month they are trying to sound the alarm because the numbers are alarming.
"We're seeing that diabetes starts to increase in incidence around 35 and above," she says. "If you catch it early, it's very important because it can help prevent these complications from getting worse, or getting to a point where they're irreversible."
And remember diabetes does not see gender or race.
So everyone needs to be tested over 35 years old because the earlier the detection the sooner it can be treated and the less the consequences.
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