DEAR ABBY: In America today, there are 20.8 million people living with diabetes. Because there are often no symptoms, nearly one-third of them -- 6.2 million of those people -- don't even know they have diabetes and won't find out until one of its devastating complications develops. An additional 41 million people are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that diabetes and its complications can be prevented or delayed, but awareness is vital.
Left untreated, the complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation. But they are not inevitable. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to preventing or delaying these complications.
Please help us to spread the word to the millions of Americans who are living with this disease and don't know it, or who are at risk. Thanks for sharing this information with your readers, Abby. It can help to improve the lives of millions of Americans who might already have diabetes and not know it, and prevent the disease in millions more. -- ROBERT A. RIZZA, M.D., AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION
DEAR DR. RIZZA: I'm pleased to pass the word along. I had a conversation recently with David Boyer, M.D., a respected retinal specialist here in Los Angeles, in which he confided that one of the most difficult things he has to do in his practice is to inform a patient that his or her eyesight cannot be restored, and that the cause was previously undiagnosed diabetes.
Today, March 28, is the American Diabetes Association's 18th Annual Diabetes Alert Day. Readers, go to � HYPERLINK "http://www.diabetes.org/risk-test" ��www.diabetes.org/risk-test� to take the ADA's online assessment, or call toll-free (800) 342-2383 for more information. Do it for yourselves, for your family and for me.