Diabetes affects around 34.2 million or 10.5% of Americans and nearly 1 in 5 Americans living with diabetes are unaware they have this disease. Furthermore, around 88 million Americans over the age of 18 have pre-diabetes and are unaware. Pre-diabetes is a condition where your glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Pre-diabetes puts you at risk for developing diabetes in the future. It is important to understand your risk factors and knowing them can help you prevent or manage diabetes.
There are three types of diabetes. Type 1 is genetic and is usually diagnosed in children. This type is due to your pancreas not producing insulin therefore not allowing glucose to enter cells and produce energy. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form where the body does not make enough insulin or does not use it well. Type 2 diabetes can happen at almost any time but is most common in middle to older aged adults. The third type of diabetes is gestational diabetes which is developed during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy but can increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.
Your risk of developing diabetes is affected by several factors including your family history, genetics, age, and activity levels. The main risk factors for developing Type 2 Diabetes include being over the age of 45, family history of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, not being physically active, and having high levels of triglycerides. These factors all increase your potential risk of developing diabetes. It is important to know these to help mitigate your controllable risk factors. By increasing your activity level and improving your diet you can help control your weight, physical activity, and blood pressure. By doing so you will help decrease your current risk factors and improve your overall health.
Pre-diabetes has no symptoms which can make it hard to spot. However, there are some symptoms to watch out for that could mean you have undiagnosed diabetes. Look out for extreme thirst, increased appetite, fatigue, frequent urination, weight loss, blurry vision, fruity-smelling breath, and sores that fail to heal. These symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have diabetes but could be worth a conversation with your doctor. If you are concerned about your risk for diabetes, take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test
Understanding your risk factors for diabetes and watching for symptoms are the first important steps to take to mitigate and manage diabetes. Furthermore, knowing how to lower your risk factors through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight will help lower your risks and boost your overall health. If you are worried about your risk factors or symptoms speak with your doctor about your concerns or ask for a diabetes test.
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