November has been designated "Diabetes Month," and the Arlington Department of Human Resources is participating in a Washington metropolitan area program for the detection of diabetes throughout the month.

Diabetes is America's third leading cause of death and the leading cause for new cases of blindness. Over 10 million Americans suffer from diabetes and more than 40 per cent of those people are unaware that they have it. An estimated 8,000 diabetics live in Arlington County, and as many as 3,000 of those are undiagnosed, according to the county.

If diabetes is overlooked and neglected, it can lead to serious complications such as heart attack, kidney disease, gangrene, and blindness. The disease is easily detected and, if caught and treated properly, some of the complications can be prevented. The incidence of diabetes is particularly high among people with diabetic relatives, people over 45, and people who are overweight.

Although many cases of diabetes can occur with few symptoms or no symptoms of all, some common sysptoms of diabetes are frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, rapid weight loss, drowsiness, easy tiring, blurring of vision, and a susceptibility to skin infections.

People interested in the screening are advised to eat an adequate meal two hours before the clinic visit and then eat or drink nothing until the blood sample has been taken.

Free diabetes screening clinics have been scheduled at: Fenwick Center, 800 S. Walter Reed Dr., Tuesday, Nov. 15, and Thursday, Nov. 17, from 2 to 3 p.m.; Edison Center, 1801 N. Edison St., Friday, Nov. 11, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Tuesday, Nov. 22, from 9 to 11 a.m.; and in the Arlington County Human Resources Main Building, 1800 N. Edison St., Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 5 to 7 p.m.