- HAGERSTOWN, Md. - Diabetes is a condition millions of people suffer from nationwide, and doctors say even more people do not know they are on the verge of getting it.
About 26 million people in the nation suffer from the disease and 79 million people do not know they have pre-diabetes, according to Tim Higgins, a diabetes educator of Meritus Health.
"Diabetes is a disease that affects how one eats, how exercises, and what kinds of medications that they need to take," said Higgins.
Doctor Higgins says much of it is caused by how you eat and what you eat, a disease he says, is impacting Washington County at a serious level.
"Obesity is a very big part of it so that increases the risk of developing diabetes earlier in one's lifetime," said Higgins.
To many, not knowing you have a disease can cause a big scare but just like other conditions diabetes comes with a set of symptoms.
"They have an increased thirst, they need to use the bathroom frequently during the night and in some extreme cases, it could be weight loss," said Higgins.
By exercising and having a healthy diet, it is the first step towards a healthy lifestyle.
"Diabetes is very manageable, so there's no need to have a fear of diabetes but it's very important to have knowledge of whether or not you have diabetes," said Higgins.
With regular check-ups and healthy habits, doctors say it is a disease that can be kept under control.
If you are unsure of whether you have diabetes or not doctors recommend talking to a nutritionist, your family doctor or a dietitian.

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