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DES MOINES, Iowa — November is diabetes awareness month and doctors are encouraging patients to get tested early.

“Taking early action can definitely change the trajectory and have a healthier life,” said Dr. Vanitha Singaram, an endocrinologist at MercyOne.

Dr. Singaram believes Iowa’s diabetic diagnosis rate is alarming, and people often don’t know or suspect they are diabetic. She said everyone should get checked early, even if there is no family history of diabetes. She believes early detection can help reverse pre-diabetic issues and prevent long-term complications.

“Even though one does not have symptoms, the effects of high blood sugar is already affecting your eyes. It’s already affecting your kidneys, your nerves. The damage is happening on the background, but one does not realize it because there’s not too many symptoms very early on, unless their blood sugar gets too high. The diagnosis and treatment and the impact or seriousness of it gets delayed,” said Dr. Singaram.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.