Diabetes is a prevalent chronic condition, with more than 37 million Americans diagnosed with the disease according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Join us this November as we raise awareness about diabetes, particularly type two diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease. What are your risks and how can you prevent them are key insights you can learn as you celebrate American Diabetes Month with Premier Medical Group this month.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic or long-lasting medical condition that affects the way your body uses energy. In the case of type one diabetes, patients are no longer able to make enough insulin, the hormone that allows your body to use the sugars from carbohydrates as energy.
Imagine that insulin is a key. When an individual’s pancreas produces insulin, the body unlocks the energy in foods by allowing blood sugar to enter one’s cells. For those with Type One diabetes, their bodies do not produce enough insulin. Thus, those experiencing this condition will need to take insulin to survive.
In type two diabetes, the insulin in one’s body is not functioning properly. Thus, a patient suffering from type two diabetes produces insulin but their body fails to recognize or use the insulin properly and therefore cannot keep blood sugar at a normal level. The pancreas produces more insulin in its attempts to help the patient’s body to get the energy it needs from foods. The increased blood sugar levels, however, damage the body. When left untreated, the high blood sugars resulting from type two diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, and vision loss.
Signs and Risk Factors of Type Two Diabetes
The good news is that there are common signs of diabetes that can help individuals determine if they need to be treated. American Diabetes Month helps us work to bring these signs of diabetes to the forefront so you can work on maintaining a healthier lifestyle and future. Those who have type two diabetes often experience the following:
- Frequent urination
- Rapid weight loss
- Getting infections that do not heal
Since many of these signs may be associated with other medical conditions it is important to consider your risk. Risk factors for developing type two diabetes include the following:
- Being over the age of 45
- Not getting enough physical activity
- Overweight or obese
- Member of ethnic groups where diabetes is more prevalent, for instance, African American, Hispanic Latino, Native American, Asian Pacific Islander
- Woman who has had gestational diabetes or who has given birth to a baby who is more than 9 pounds
Should You Be Worried About Prediabetes?
According to the CDC, more than 90 million Americans are affected by prediabetes. That’s a significant figure, especially when one considers the fact that more than 8 in 10 of prediabetic individuals* are unaware of the fact that they have prediabetes.
Since prediabetes often leads to the development of type two diabetes, it’s especially important for prediabetic patients to consider immediate changes that you can make to reduce their risk and improve their health. Prediabetic individuals and others who have not been diagnosed with type two diabetes can reduce their risk by engaging in more frequent physical activity. Brisk walking for at least 150 minutes each week is recommended**. Another focus could include losing about 5% to 7% of one’s body weight if you are currently overweight.
At Premier Medical Group, we’re confident that preventing or managing type two diabetes is possible and we are here to help. Our team of medical experts can advise you on a healthier way forward. If you are worried about your risk of developing type two diabetes, share your concerns. Contact us today.