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 says Dr. Radhika Annam, endocrinologist with HSHS Medical Group.
“Often type 2 diabetes symptoms develop slowly and can be subtle,” says Dr. Annam. “That's why it's important to know the signs to watch for, even small changes, which might indicate a condition that needs attention.”
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.
“Small lifestyle modifications, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking briskly for 30 minutes a day or reducing your sugar intake, can help delay the onset of type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Annam. “Working with a health care provider is important for developing an individualized plan that will both prevent and control this disease.”
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.
HSHS Medical Group has Diabetes and Endocrinology locations in Decatur, Effingham, O’Fallon, and Springfield, Illinois. Our highly-specialized team of experts – board-certified endocrinologists, nurse practitioners, certified diabetes educators and dieticians – work together to provide our patients with the tools they need to manage their diabetes and live their best life. For more information about our comprehensive diabetes care, visit HSHSMedicalGroup.org or call 217-391-5460.