Diabetes is impacting more people than ever before. It’s estimated that over 420 million people suffer from the disease worldwide. With diabetes becoming so widespread, it’s more important than ever to know about the disease so that you can prevent it.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes means that your blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Prediabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
It’s estimated that 86 million Americans now have prediabetes—that’s 1 in 3 adults. Many people don’t even know they have it. The good news is that prediabetes can often be reversed.
What’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and the cause is unknown. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body.
Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of diabetes, occurs when the body doesn’t use insulin properly. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. Also, fat and muscles become less sensitive to insulin’s effect. This is called insulin resistance.
Who is at risk for type 2 diabetes?
People who develop type 2 diabetes tend to have the following characteristics:
- Age 45 or older
- Overweight or obese
- Physically inactive
- Family member with diabetes
- High blood pressure
Genes also play a big role in whether or not you’re susceptible to getting diabetes. Certain genes or a combination of genes can increase or decrease your risk for developing it. The proof behind the genetic link to diabetes is proven in the high rate of type 2 diabetes in families, identical twins, and prevalence in certain ethnicities.
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
Common symptoms of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry (even though you’ve eaten)
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts and bruises that heal slowly
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet
- Unexplained weight loss
If you think you may be developing diabetes, please consult with your doctor.
Can diabetes be prevented?
Although type 1 diabetes is not preventable, type 2 diabetes can be. Moderate weight loss (between 5-15 pounds), moderate daily exercise and a healthy diet can help you prevent a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
For more information on diabetes symptoms, early detection and treatment, check out the American Diabetes Association website.