An estimated 37 million people are living with diabetes in the United States – the highest it has ever been, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Most cases are type 2 diabetes, which means your body doesn’t use insulin properly. Type 2 is largely preventable through regular physical activity and a healthy and balanced diet.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly and can be subtle. That's why it's important to know the signs so you can watch for even small changes in how you feel and look.
Talk with your doctor if any of these symptoms persist:
- Frequent urination
- Feeling thirsty
- Feeling hungry, even when eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss
- Tingling, pain or numbness in hands and feet
Diabetes can cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, vision impairment and other health-related complications, such as heart attack and stroke.
A1C is a type of test that can identify prediabetes, which means blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetic. The CDC says 96 million Americans - more than one in three – are prediabetic. If it’s determined you have prediabetes, it does not mean you’ll develop type 2, especially if you make changes in your lifestyle regarding exercise and nutrition.
Even small changes like taking the stairs, walking around the block regularly or eating less sugar can help delay or prevent the disease. You should work with a health care provider to develop a plan that works for you and will help avoid a lifetime of medications or insulin monitoring.
A physician can evaluate your risk level and complete bloodwork to diagnose diabetes. A consultation with a clinical dietitian or diabetes educator may also help identify ways to reduce your risk factors. You can also take a one-minute Diabetes Risk Test through the American Diabetes Association at: www.diabetes.org/risk-test