The early signs and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes are often so subtle that many people don’t realize they are living with the chronic condition – until serious complications arise.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 30 million Americans have diabetes and as many as 25 percent are unaware, which dramatically increases the risks of serious health consequences. But doctors at Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital say a simple blood test can make all the difference.


“Seeing your primary care physician for an annual physical exam, including blood work, is critical to understanding your health – including your risk factors for diabetes,” says Chaitanya Alli, M.D., a family medicine specialist at Houston Methodist Primary Care Group in Nassau Bay. “A blood test done after fasting can tell us your blood glucose levels at that moment, and even give us an average of your blood glucose levels for the past three months. Knowing your numbers is the key to determining your risk level.”


Rates of Type 2 diabetes have been steadily rising in recent years due to an aging population, sedentary lifestyles and an increase in obesity. Type 2 diabetes develops over time, as the body either slows production of insulin, which breaks down sugars and carbohydrates, or fails to respond properly to insulin that is produced. Long-term, diabetes can cause nerve damage, vision loss, kidney failure, heart disease and more.


For some individuals, especially those with Type 1 diabetes, genetics plays a role. But everyone can reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes by eating a sensible diet and exercising frequently.


“Some of the primary drivers in the growth of diabetes in the U.S. are the prevalence of excess consumption of calories and highly processed foods,” says Jennifer Litaker, a certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian at Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital. “In the body, carbohydrates break down into sugar called glucose. Glucose enters the blood stream, which causes blood glucose levels to rise. For patients with diabetes, managing those spikes through a consistent carbohydrate diet is critical. Individuals who are considered to have ‘pre-diabetes’ have above-normal blood glucose levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. These individuals can significantly reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by following a well-balanced diet, exercising more and maintaining a healthy weight. Working with a dietitian can be extremely beneficial in crafting a healthy nutrition plan that you can live with long-term.”




Join Chaitanya Alli, M.D., and Jennifer Litaker, RD, LD, CDE, to learn about the risk factors for diabetes; the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes; and insights and tips on prevention and living with diabetes. After the presentation, Alli and Litaker will answer questions from attendees. The event is scheduled for Thursday, April 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Main Lobby at Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital, 18300 Houston Methodist Drive in Nassau Bay. Light refreshments will be served. Please register online at or call 281.333.8899.