Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin, which lets the blood sugar enter your body’s cells, where it is used for energy.
If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin, or when cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults and is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction. Currently, there is no known way to prevent it. Type 2 diabetes is far more common, occurring in 90-95% of all people with diabetes.
Are You at Risk for Developing Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes develops over many years and can be prevented or delayed with lifestyle changes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, you may be at risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes if you:
- Are overweight.
- Are 45 years or older.
- Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.
- Are physically active less than three times a week.
- Have had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than nine pounds.
- Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native (some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk).
If you already have prediabetes or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, you may also be at risk for type 2 diabetes.
You can prevent or reverse prediabetes with simple, proven lifestyle changes such as losing weight if you’re overweight, eating healthier, and getting regular physical activity. The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you make healthy changes that have lasting results.
Type 2 diabetes symptoms often take several years to develop, so some people don’t notice them. Type 2 diabetes usually starts when you’re an adult, though more and more children and teens are developing it. Because symptoms can be hard to spot, it’s important to watch for them if you have any of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Regular doctor visits are particularly important for people with diabetes risk factors.
Recognize the Symptoms of Diabetes
If you have any diabetes risk factors, pay close attention to see if you have any of the following symptoms. See your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested if you:
- Urinate (pee) a lot, often at night.
- Are very thirsty.
- Lose weight without trying.
- Are very hungry.
- Have blurred vision.
- Have numb or tingling hands or feet.
- Feel very tired.
- Have very dry skin.
- Have sores that heal slowly.
- Have more infections than usual.
MSA Can Help You Manage Your Diabetes Risk or Disease
If you are at risk of developing diabetes, or if you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, Muskegon Surgical Associates can help you manage your risk or your disease. Call us at 231-739-1933 or contact us today for a consultation.