Men's Health

THE BIG D DIABETES IS AMERICA’S STEALTHY KILLER.

A healthier Kevin Mamon now listens to his doctor, Spencer Nadolsky, D.O.

Kevin Mamon has no excuse. He was warned. He knows it, and his medical records prove it. Four years ago, a test showed that he had prediabetes, which, as the name suggests, is the intermediate step between normal, healthy blood sugar levels and full-blown type 2 diabetes. “I fooled myself for a long time, thinking I was healthy, but just a big dude,” he says.

The 6'1" Mamon isn’t kidding about his size, which had peaked north of 400 pounds. By the time he went to see Spencer Nadolsky, D.O., he was no longer so sure about the “healthy” part. It was March 15, 2016, one of many details he remembers with the clarity of a man who’s had a conversion experience. He was a few weeks shy of his 42nd birthday and his weight had recently dropped to 373 pounds without any real effort on his part.

Unintentional weight loss, Mamon now knows, is one of the clearest warning signs of diabetes, along with constant thirst, urinary volume that would worry Seabiscuit, and napinducing fatigue after every meal. He was about to become a statistic, one of 1.4 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes each year. (The American Diabetes Association estimates that of the 29 million who have the disease, a quarter don’t know it yet.)

You could be one of them. And your odds of having prediabetes is even higher—the latest research shows that a third of American adults are prediabetic. Because you can’t feel high blood sugar, you wouldn’t know you have it unless a doctor told you. And 90 percent of people with prediabetes haven’t been diagnosed. (Gauge your risk on the next page.)

Mamon was one of the few, the forewarned; the proof is in his patient file. It says that in the spring of 2013, his hemoglobin A1c, a threemonth average of his blood sugar levels, was 6.3 percent, just below the 6.5 percent cutoff for diabetes. He simply has no memory of the warning. “If I’d paid more attention, I could’ve saved myself a lot of aggravation,” he says.

By the time he saw Dr. Nadolsky, a family medicine and obesity specialist in Olney, Maryland, Mamon’s A1c had nearly doubled to 12.5. His fasting blood sugar, at 348 milligrams per deciliter, was three-and-a-half times the normal level for a healthy adult.

“He wasn’t just ‘kind of’ diabetic,” Dr. Nadolsky says. “He had severe, uncontrolled diabetes. Most doctors would’ve automatically put him on insulin. That’s how dire it was.” The amount of sugar flowing through

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