Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (blood glucose). Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to long-term complications; however you can manage diabetes effectively through proper diet, exercise and monitoring your blood sugar levels.
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “prediabetes” — blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes; this is up from 79 million in 2010. The good news is that you will not automatically develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes. For some people early treatment can actually return blood glucose levels to the normal range.
Since there are no clear symptoms of prediabetes, many people have it and do not know it. Others may experience some of the symptoms of diabetes which includes:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though you are eating more
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet
Do you suspect that you or a loved one may have prediabetes? Does it run in your family?
Here are the risk factors that you should be aware of. Your chances of having prediabetes go up if you:
- are age 45 or older
- are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
- have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
- are overweight
- are physically inactive
- have high blood pressure or if you take medicine for high blood pressure
- have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
- are a woman who had diabetes during pregnancy
- have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or if you have some of the risk factors and suspect you may have prediabetes, call your doctor and have your blood glucose levels checked. Research shows that you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes dramatically by:
- Losing 7% of your body weight (about 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds)
- Exercising moderately (such as brisk walking) 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Don’t worry if you can’t get to your ideal body weight. Losing even 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference! Don’t get overwhelmed -Start slowly, walking just a few days a week or join a gym with a friend. Often it is motivating and supportive to exercise with someone. Also, start eating healthier by adding a fruit and vegetable to your daily diet. It could be a snack or part of your meal.
Having prediabetes is your early warning sign. Take action now to avoid the problems that diabetes could bring. Diabetes is a disease that can lead to very serious complications including heart disease, stroke, amputation, kidney disease, blindness and even death.
Milford Regional has a diabetes program that is nationally recognized by the American Diabetes Association. The key components to the program are education and counseling. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes and would like some help getting on track to better health, please call our diabetes department at 508-422-2085.