Diabetes is a serious disease that strikes nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States, and a quarter of them—seven million—do not even know they have it. An additional 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, diagnosis often comes seven to 10 years after the onset of the disease, after disabling and even deadly complications have had time to develop. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.
Recently, researchers have been studying the effect diabetes might have on gum disease and vice versa. What they found was astounding! Many diabetics also had a more severe problem with gum disease. This discovery led researchers to believe that people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing gum disease. The silver lining on this cloud is that the research also found that diabetics who controlled their blood sugar more effectively often reduced their chance of developing gum disease. Another revealing association is that treating your gum disease can help control your blood sugar. It is a two way street; one affects the other.
People who are overweight, under active (living a sedentary lifestyle) and over the age of 45 should consider themselves at risk for type 2 diabetes. African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and people who have a family history of the disease also are at an increased risk. Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or delayed by losing just 7 percent of body weight (such as 15 pounds if you weigh 200) through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating. By understanding your risk, you can take the necessary steps to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.