#9. Fighting Diabetes Is a Personal Mission for Dr. Juan Rivera

Dr. Juan Rivera

Dr. Juan Rivera

Diabetes is the 7th leading killer of Americans, yet studies show that the most common form, Type 2 diabetes, can often be managed or prevented with better diet, exercise, and medical treatment.

Internist and cardiologist Dr. Juan Rivera is the director of cardiology prevention education at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami and the chief medical correspondent for Univision. Dr. Rivera has dedicated his life to educating the Hispanic community about better ways to prevent, detect, and treat common health problems. 

And for Dr. Rivera, fighting diabetes in the Hispanic community is a personal mission. Some 29 million Americans, 9% of the entire U.S. population, has diabetes and the rates can be as high as 15% among some Hispanic communities. Both of Dr. Rivera's parents are diabetic and he recalls that, as a youth, his father never left the dinner table until dessert was served.

November is National Diabetes Month, and in this week's episode of The No-Mistake Zone, Leslie and Dr. Rivera discuss detection and prevention strategies, exciting new treatments, and how to better partner with your physician to prevent diabetes. 

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disorder in which you have too much sugar, or glucose, in your blood. 

  • Type 1 diabetes appears in individuals whose pancreas produces too little to no insulin (a hormone that the body needs to modulate glucose and turn it into energy). 
  • Type 2 diabetes is the most common. This occurs when your pancreas cannot make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels and your body is no longer able to use insulin properly.
  • Pre-diabetes (the precursor to Type 2 diabetes), affects 86 million Americans—that's 1 in 3 adults. Yet 90% of those with pre-diabetes don't even know they have it, as it often has no symptoms and can only be detected by tests that your doctor can do.

The Patient's Playbook is now in Spanish! Find El Manual del Paciente at Amazon and Walmart

What Are Common Symptoms?

  • Having to urinate often
  • Feeling very thirsty or very hungry
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet

What Are the Stakes If Left Untreated?

Multiple health problems can occur over the course of 5 to 10 years if diabetes is not treated, including:

  • Vision fades
  • Kidneys fail
  • Higher risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Foot ulcers and amputation
  • Overall shortened lifespan

Episode Credits

• Music is by PremiumBeat
• The No-Mistake Zone with Leslie Michelson is produced by Lisa Sweetingham. 
• Post-production is by Shelli Gonshorowski and Sarah Lebowitz.

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