Holidays pose slippery slope if you don't know you're diabetic

You may be winding down your holiday celebrations, but experts say it's still a time to be vigilant about your health.

A recent news release from the Methodist Hospital in Houston warns of a hidden holiday danger: not knowing you have type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Dale Hamilton, endocrinologist and diabetes specialist, notes that diabetes can be the silent killer during a time when eating high-fat and carbohydrate-rich foods is all too common.

"The most common cause of death from type 2 diabetes is heart disease and stroke," said Hamilton.

Symptoms

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 26 million people in the nation have diabetes, but that 7 million of those people aren't even aware of it.

While getting to the doctor may not be plausible right away, Hamilton says there are certain symptoms you can watch out for if you think you might have type 2 diabetes: frequent urination, extreme thirst, fatigue, blurry vision or unexpected weight loss.

What you can do

Hamilton recommends getting a blood sugar monitoring device if you're at risk for type 2 diabetes because of obesity or a family history.

"The high blood sugar weakens the immune system so a person might catch a cold that they cannot shake or develop an infection that doesn't heal," Hamilton explains.

In terms of diet, Hamilton recommends limiting carbohydrate-rich foods and things that are heavy on sugar or white flour, like cookies, pasta or bread. He also says to take small portions of cured meats and to limit alcohol intake, as both can raise blood pressure.

"If you know you are going to eat one big meal with your family or friends, reducing the number of calories the meals before and after will help," said Hamilton.

Source: US News Health

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