The occurrence of diabetes over the past 20 years has nearly doubled and that number could be even higher due to some living with diabetes and not knowing it. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control reports more than 37 million people have diabetes (1 out of 5 don’t know), and 96 million have prediabetes (8 out of 10 don’t know). Those that become diabetic can’t make enough or use enough insulin. When our body does not have enough insulin, blood glucose also known as blood sugar builds up in our blood. This changes how our body turns food into fuel.
Diabetes is categorized into three different types. Those with prediabetes have an elevated blood glucose level higher than normal, but not high enough to classify as Type 2 Diabetes. In Type 1 Diabetes the pancreas does not perform its function of creating insulin. Although this type can occur at any age, it is most common at a young age. Daily insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump and regular monitoring of blood glucose levels are required. In Type 2 Diabetes the pancreas is producing insulin but can’t make enough to keep up with what the body needs to function properly. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy with the shift in hormones. As the baby grows, the insulin that usually produces may be blocked. Typically, the issue with insulin is resolved when the baby is born, but the mother is at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
What are the risk factors for diabetes?
Risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes include being overweight and having a sedentary lifestyle. The higher amount of body fat you have, the greater chance your body becomes insulin resistant. Many chronic diseases they have similar risk factors, or one issue affects another. Other risks are a history of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Age also plays a factor, those over 40 are at a higher risk due to the pancreas not working as efficiently.
What type of symptoms should I be on the lookout for?
The most common symptoms include excessive fatigue, hunger, weight loss, frequent urination, unusual thirst, and irritability. Other symptoms include suffering from a cut or bruise that just will not heal, blurred vision, tingling in hands and feet, or bladder infections. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see your health care provider for testing which can be done by a urine test and blood test to measure your current blood glucose levels and an A1C which covers the last three months.
If diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, management is key to preventing worsening or additional chronic issues from developing. The first step is weight loss, every little bit counts towards decreasing your insulin resistance. Make sure you have a consistent eating plan, understanding what foods contain carbohydrates and how to balance your plate daily will help keep your blood glucose in check. Balancing your plate with regular physical activity, at least 150 minutes each week helps in management and prevention. Don’t do any physical activity regularly? No problem, try walking, just try 30 minutes a day. Make sure to monitor your blood glucose levels regularly, this lets you know when you are on track and when adjustments are needed. If your healthcare provider prescribes medication, be sure to follow the instructions and take it as prescribed. Looking for help with what to look for on a food label, how to manage your plate, and other aspects of wellness for diabetes? Check out this free course with three videos and resources to help you learn more and take control of preventing and managing diabetes. Click here to enroll and visit the course as often as you like: https://ifas-lake.catalog.instructure.com/courses/your-health-matters-focus-on-diabetes