According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 34 million people have diabetes.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recently updated recommendations to screen for diabetes and lowered the age to begin screening to 35 for those who have obesity or are overweight.
“Screening early makes sense. Diabetes is on the rise. Obesity is on the rise. We’re seeing diabetes is a much greater incidence in our youth, so it’s extremely important to diagnose early so we can improve these health outcomes and prevent people from having the complications from diabetes,” said Dr. Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis, of Cleveland Clinic.
Vouyiouklis Kellis said diabetes starts to increase in incidence around age 35 and that’s part of the reason screening age was lowered to 35 from 40.
If left untreated, diabetes can lead to blindness, may affect kidney function, damage nerves and can cause erectile dysfunction.
So, it’s best to diagnose and treat it sooner, than later.
“Sometimes, if you catch it early, it’s very important because you can prevent these complications from getting worse or getting to a point where they’re irreversible,” she explained. “So, if it’s too late, we can do the best we can to improve blood sugar but sometimes some of the damage, for example to nerves, can be irreversible. Diagnosing earlier will help us prevent that from happening.”
Diabetes screening is done with a blood test. If you think you may be due for diabetes screening, talk to your medical provider.