Allegheny Health Network doctor: 1 in 5 people don’t know they have diabetes

PITTSBURGH — More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. Dr. Patricia Bononi, Medical Director at AHN’s Center for diabetes and endocrine health, says one in five people don’t even know they have diabetes, and diabetes doesn’t discriminate.

“With the rising obesity trend in the United States, we’re seeing younger and younger people with diabetes,” Bononi said.

So now more than ever it’s imperative that people get their blood checked, no matter what your age. Many people think it’s not until your 40s that you need to start getting serious about your sugar or blood glucose levels, but Bononi says, “If you’re overweight, inactive, (or) have a family history of diabetes it will put you at risk for developing diabetes.”

There are some simple steps you can take to prevent this disease, such as adding more plant-based foods to your routine and exercising. Even a little exercise goes a long way, even if you can’t do the recommended 30 minutes a day, five days a week. “Ten pounds on someone that weighs 200 pounds will make a huge difference in glucose control,” Bononi says.

Bononi says that the symptoms of diabetes aren’t often noticeable, but if you are experiencing excessive thirst, frequent urination, or unexplained weight loss, that could be a sign. The doctor also says that symptoms or no symptoms, getting your blood tested is key.