LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- In this week's 'Real Men Wear Gowns' report in recognition of Men's Health Month, we're focusing on diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 452,000 adults in Oklahoma, have diabetes.
7News reporter Chelsea Floyd has details on the symptoms related to diabetes and how men can lower their risk.
"It's a deadly disease. That's why we encourage people to be screened once a year for it." Diabetes specialist, Dr. Kristie Mason of Southwestern Medical Center, recommends anyone overweight and over 40 years old to be screened for diabetes.
She says those who suffer from obesity, lack of exercise and poor diet choices are especially at risk because they don't notice anything wrong.
"Most people I diagnosis with diabetes do not have symptoms and they are very surprised they have elevated blood sugars or diabetes."
She says some of those symptoms can include unexplained weight loss, increased thirst or increased urination which, if taken seriously, can be treated early on with simple diet and exercise.
However, those who ignore the warning signs may require deeper treatment.
"Other patients we have to put them on oral medications. Or, if it is severe, even insulin which would be injections into the body."
Mason says it's important to go to a doctor once a year for screening, even if you aren't experiencing symptoms.
"Unless people are coming in the physician once a year getting screened for these things you don't know until you start having organ damage, damage to your eyes, damage to your kidneys from having blood sugars that are elevated for years."
She says choosing to not see a doctor may be one of the worst decision you could make.
"There are people that die from diabetes every year. People that don't even know they have diabetes because their blood sugars are so high. So, death is a very serious concern and consequence."
According to the American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes and prediabetes cost an estimated $3.7-billion in Oklahoma each year.