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American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month and an opportunity for greater awareness about the disease that affects 26 million people nationwide.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects your body’s ability to process sugar. The resulting high blood sugar can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body, including your mouth. Diabetes can lower your resistance to infection and can slow the healing process.

People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing some oral health problems, including gum disease and fungal infections, according to the American Dental Association.

Around 7 million Americans currently have diabetes but don’t realize it, putting them at risk for serious complications that can arise when the disease is left untreated. A new fact sheet from the National Institutes of Health describes a blood test called A1C, which can diagnose type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Prediabetes raises the risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Taking the test is more convenient than the other glucose tests often used to diagnose diabetes because there’s no need to fast. The A1C test can also help patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes monitor their blood sugar levels.

Seventy-nine million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association, which estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. is $174 billion.

The new fact sheet covers a wide range of details about the A1C test, including how the test works, other blood tests for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, the accuracy of blood tests and more.

The A1C Test and Diabetes fact sheet is available at Or contact NIH’s National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse at 1-800–860–8747or email

Good oral hygiene habits, including professional cleanings at the dental office, are important to control the progression of gum disease and other oral health problems, the ADA says. Regular dental checkups and periodontal screenings are important for evaluating overall dental health and for treating dental problems in their initial stages.

To learn more about what the American Dental Association has to say about diabetes and oral health, visit, select A-Z topics and choose “D” to find the listing for diabetes.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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