Could You Have Diabetes and Not Know It?

Learn the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes (8 Photos)

iVillage Staff on Nov 7, 2011 at 5:38PM

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An Alarming Development

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a iVillage Staff on Nov 7, 2011 at 5:39PM

Diabetes has become a global epidemic, fueled largely by rising rates of obesity. Today, on World Diabetes Day, the International Diabetes Federation released its annual survey predicting that worldwide diabetes rates will soar from 366 in 2011 to 552 million by 2030.

More than 25 million Americans over the age of 20, over 11% of the population, had diabetes in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 35% of Americans over the age of 20 have prediabetes, characterized by high blood sugar levels and a greatly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Anyone can become diabetic, and many who are don't know it. "In recent years there's a 50-50 chance that someone has one or more complications of diabetes before being diagnosed," says Dr. Richard Hellman, past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Possible complications include damage to the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves or feet.

The good news: Diabetes can often be prevented with weight loss, exercise and a sensible diet. A simple test can catch the disease early. Symptoms vary and aren't always present, but there are warning signs you can watch for. This is your guide to spotting red-flag symptoms that may indicate you're at risk.

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