Know Your Diabetes Risk: November is Diabetes Month
According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and 1 out of 4 don’t know they have diabetes. Those are sobering statistics because the risk of death for adults with diabetes is 50% higher than for adults without diabetes.
Knowing the prevalence and dangers of diabetes are compelling incentives to schedule an appointment with your clinic’s physician to assess your diabetes risk.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes describes a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood glucose (blood sugar):
- In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin; approximately 10% of all diabetes cases are type 1.
- In individuals with type 2 diabetes, which accounts for approximately 90% of all diabetes cases, cells don’t react properly to insulin, and glucose doesn’t get transferred from the blood stream into the cells. As a result, blood glucose levels stay elevated.
- A third type, gestational diabetes, affects women during pregnancy.
Recognize diabetes’ symptoms
Common symptoms of diabetes include:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry, even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss, even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
Are you at risk?
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- History of gestational diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High sugar/high fat diet
- Certain ethnicities: African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans/Pacific Islanders
- Family history of type 2 diabetes
Early detection and treatment are key
Over time, poorly controlled diabetes can cause permanent damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart.
The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be treated with weight loss, exercise, nutrition changes, and medication.
Make an appointment with your clinic physician for a diabetes evaluation to determine the best treatment plan for your situation or if you are concerned about developing type 2 diabetes.