PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Marking Diabetes Alert Day on March 28, a Portland doctor is urging Americans to get screenings for the disease as cases climb in the United States.

People who have a family history of diabetes are most at-risk for diabetes or pre-diabetes, says Portland-based obesity medicine specialist Dr. Jeff Stanley of Virta Health. Other major risk factors include being overweight and obese — noting some racial and ethnic groups such as African Americans and Native Americans are also at higher risk.

Stanely explained in the United States, “unfortunately, we’re seeing just skyrocketing incidence,” when it comes to obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes.

“Sometimes diabetes can be a silent onset. So, people may have diabetes or pre-diabetes and not know it for years,” Stanley says. As symptoms develop, the obesity specialist says this can include worsening fatigue, numbness or tingling in fingers or toes or frequent urination.

However, Stanely points out intervention is possible with changes to diet and exercise and screenings for the disease.

“Diabetes doesn’t have to be this sort of inevitable move towards worsening condition and complications,” Stanley said. “People can take steps to improve their health, change their diet, add in more activity and they can avoid some of those long-term complications.”

“Some of the long-term complications can be really devastating,” Stanley said. “In many cases, people are at higher risk of heart attacks or stroke. It can lead eventually to blindness or amputations or kidney failure.”

Stanley encourages talking to doctor about screenings and risks for diabetes.