I recently gave a lecture at the U.S. Embassy, and the presentation was called, “Diabetes: How Can We Prevent It?” (I’ve attached the slide show at the bottom of this post.) The talk went well, and now I’m jazzed about sharing some pearls with my readers. For example, how many of you have been told you have pre-diabetes? Even more worrisome, how many readers have diabetes but don’t know it?
This is not a rare problem at all; it’s estimated that in China alone, maybe 1/3 of people with diabetes are walking around unaware of their disease diagnosis — mostly because they don’t get annual screening tests from a local clinic. Now, there’s a fascinating study just published which screened 900 healthy local Beijingers for diabetes — and discovered pre-diabetes in 22% and actual diabetes in 11%!
The main reason why this concerns me is that, as a family medicine doctor, I treat diabetic patients all the time and I see the serious health effects it can do. I’ve had too many hospital visits to see my patients getting their feet amputated, or going blind, or in the ICU from a diabetic coma. Diabetes, if not treated early, can seriously impact people’s lives. So my #1 mission is to have people not get diabetes in the first place.
This means that people need to be screened. It’s very simple, it’s just a quick 5-minute blood test at an annual exam. If you haven’t had a physical exam in many years, you should get checked. If you’re short on money or without insurance, you can simply go to any local clinic in Beijing.
Why is screening so important? Mostly because diabetes may cause “silent” symptoms but still be silently wearing down down your kidneys, eyes, heart and nerves. Many people, when officially diagnosed, already have permanent damage to these organs. This again is why it’s important to catch diabetes early — once you know, you can aggressively change your lifestyle, and maybe start some diabetes pills, and you can avoid all that long-term organ damage.
Slide Show: Diabetes — How Can We Prevent It?
Here below is a copy of the slide show I gave. You can instantly view it full-screen by clicking on the “menu” button: