Do you know that it is possible to be diabetic and undiagnosed? Millions across the nation are living with diabetes every year and are unaware of the health risks. During November, we encourage patients and our community to learn about diabetes and its symptoms to help better manage their health and overall quality of life.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a health condition that alters the way your body turns food into energy. When your food is broken down into blood sugar, or glucose, it is released into the bloodstream. Your body then releases insulin to help your cells use glucose as energy.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it means your body either does not make enough insulin or your body cannot produce insulin properly, which results in high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels over time can cause serious health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, vision loss, nerve damage, high blood pressure, kidney failure, anxiety, depression, and loss of limb.
Types of Diabetes
One of the most important things to know is that there are three different types of diabetes and each is complex and requires daily care and health management.
Type 1 Diabetes
As stated above, our bodies require insulin for the regulation of blood sugar. In type 1 diabetes, your body is unable to produce insulin. Symptoms may develop quickly, and you will need to manually take insulin daily to control your blood sugar. Nearly 5-10% of patients with diabetes are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
With type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin but not sufficiently so you are unable to maintain proper blood sugar levels. About 90% of patients with diabetes are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Symptoms may occur gradually over time. It is important to note that it can be prevented and delayed with a healthy lifestyle consisting of a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women and often disappears once the child is born but can increase the mother and child’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. As the baby grows, sometimes hormones may cause the body to reject insulin or make it hard for the mother to use insulin properly, similar to type 2 diabetes.
What is Prediabetes?
Nearly every patient diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, also develops prediabetes. In prediabetes, your blood sugar is higher than normal levels but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Patients may develop some of the symptoms or health conditions as well. It is important to note that even if you are diagnosed with prediabetes, you can significantly reduce your risk or prevent it entirely with a consistent treatment plan of a proper diet and exercise.
Signs and Symptoms
If you notice any of the following symptoms, speak with your doctor about having your blood sugar tested. Signs of diabetes can include:
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- Hunger even while eating
- Slow healing of cuts and wounds
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
Reduce Your Risk
Though type 1 cannot be prevented, there are ways you can take to reduce your risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Even small changes can make an impact such as better stress management, maintaining a healthy weight, making healthier food choices, working out regularly, managing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and stopping smoking are all great ways to lower your risk.
For patients who are diagnosed with diabetes, we are here to help you manage your health so that you can still live a long, happy, and healthy life. We can help you by assisting in bettering your diet, monitoring blood sugar levels, customizing exercise plans, and creating a schedule so that you can stay on top of your condition and all your health needs. For more information on diabetes and how our services can help, contact Functional Health Center today at (704) 625-2994.