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Diabetes Awareness Month: Doctors encourage testing, age to begin screenings recently lowered

Diabetes Screening
Posted at 6:49 AM, Nov 10, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — “Just based on family history as well as just some of the labs that came back for me during this journey,” said Kelsea Brooks, patient at Wholistic Pediatrics & Family Care.

Those are some of the reasons she decided to take a closer look at her health.

“There were some concerns surrounding high cholesterol, possibly some different high blood pressure stuff which could eventually turn into different diabetes,” said Brooks.

There's been new research surrounding diabetes as cases rise in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 34 million people have diabetes.

“High cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, that triad kid of all seems to run together. So if you’re more prone to one you’re more prone to the other. There's lots of crossover,” said Dr. David Berger, Certified Pediatrician at Wholistic Pediatrics & Family Care.

Even if you’re not diabetic, there’s a new study that shows a correlation between diabetes and statins, which are the most common medications to treat high cholesterol.

“It has been known for a while that there is a link between the statin therapy and the potential for developing insulin resistance which is kind of what type 2 diabetes is. But a very large study came out with 83,000 people showing that not only was it insulin resistance increasing but just the overall glycemic control. The ability for the body when using other mechanisms, other treatments, to control the sugar from going too high that when a person is taking a statin medication that appears to make it more difficult to control and have worsening to diabetes,” said Berger.

If you’re concerned, Berger suggests talking to your doctor about controlling your cholesterol or diabetes in more natural ways.

“Good exercise, high-intensity interval types of exercise, getting the metabolic rate up, getting the heart rate up for extended periods of time and doing exercise for a good hour most days of the week,” said Berger.

“I was able to use some different supplements and that was the route that I took because I was looking for some answers just kind of like help out and support my body in the processes that my body was already doing,” said Brooks.

Doctors also want to make sure you’re getting screened for diabetes early enough.

The age to begin screening was recently lowered from 40 to 35 for people who are obese or overweight.

“Screening early makes sense. Diabetes is on the rise, obesity is on the rise. We’re seeing diabetes in much greater incidents in our youth,” said Dr. Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis from Cleveland Clinic.

If left untreated diabetes can lead to several complications like blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage, and heart disease.

“Sometimes 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. So if it’s too late we can do the best we can to improve blood sugar but sometimes the damage for example for nerves can be irreversible. Diagnosing earlier will prevent that from happening,” said Kellis.