SAN ANTONIO — Tuesday is Diabetes Alert Day which serves as a one-day wake-up call focusing on the seriousness of the disease.
Even though there is only one Diabetes Alert Day every year, it is important to raise awareness because one-third of those with diabetes in south Texas, don't even know they have it.
Dr. Carolina Solis-Herrera, the Chief of the Endocrinology Division at UT Health San Antonio told us, "Diabetes is extremely prevalent and is the number one cause of blindness, amputation and dialysis and renal transplant. Not only in the United States, but also in the world."
Diabetes affects about 30 million Americans or close to 10 percent of the U.S. population. Nearly one in four adults, or about seven million Americans don't know they have diabetes.
Here in San Antonio one in six people have Type-2 diabetes. In Bexar County Hispanics are twice as likely to have diabetes than Caucasians.
Dr. Solis-Herrera added, "Patients with diabetes not infrequently have heart attacks, strokes, heart failure. And now we have medications that actually not only can lower their glucose, but they can also protect them from a heart attack and a stroke."
Some of the risk factors of diabetes are:
- Those over the age of 45.
- People who are overweight.
- Those who get little physical activity.
- People who are African American or Hispanic.
- Those with a family history.
Dr. Solis-Herrera also said, "Mothers that had gestational diabetes, they need to check every year for the rest of their lives because their risk is very high."
Pre-diabetes, a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes, is just as big of a problem.
"Here in San Antonio one out of every three people are pre-diabetic. Dr. Solis-Herrera added, "10% to 15% of patients with pre-diabetes already have eye complications, kidney complications and neuropathy. So it is not a benign disease."
For more about diabetes or to make an appointment with UT Health San Antonio call 210-450-9050 or head to UTHealthCare.org/diabetes.
University Health's Texas Diabetes Institute offers high-quality health care services to adults including chronic disease management, preventive care and treatment for minor illnesses. For more information or to make an appointment call 210-358-7000.