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Putting diabetes symptoms in the spotlight to raise diabetes awareness

  • Category: Diabetes
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Putting diabetes symptoms in the spotlight to raise diabetes awareness

Whether you have a family history of diabetes or simply want to keep yourself healthy as you age, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your blood sugar. This November, during Diabetes Awareness Month, which is also called National Diabetes Month, take a few minutes to brush up on symptoms that indicate your blood sugar is higher than it should be.

Millions of Americans are living with diabetes—and millions more are at risk of being diagnosed with diabetes. Because untreated diabetes can lead to serious health issues, such as kidney disease, it’s important to have your blood sugar levels checked regularly and to watch for the symptoms of diabetes. Read on as our West Jefferson Medical Center team explains more.

Understanding diabetes

Diabetes is a medical condition that occurs when the body is unable to efficiently regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.

When the body is working optimally, a type of sugar called glucose enters the bloodstream when you eat. The pancreas makes insulin, which moves glucose from the blood to fuel other parts of the body, including your muscles, fat and liver cells.

When a person has diabetes, the normal process for metabolizing and using glucose is disrupted. The reason for this differs between diabetes types.

In someone who has Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cells responsible for making insulin are damaged and don’t work. Because of that, the body makes little or no insulin at all.

In someone who has Type 2 diabetes, the body makes insulin but is either resistant to it or doesn’t use it as efficiently as it should.

Regardless of the why behind diabetes, the condition causes excessively high blood sugar, which can lead to many serious health issues. Diabetes can damage the eyes, kidneys, heart, and many other tissues and organs throughout the body.

The signs and symptoms of diabetes

Because diabetes doesn’t always cause noticeable symptoms, particularly as it first develops, it’s important to have your blood sugar checked regularly. According to the American Diabetes Association, all adults should have their blood glucose tested starting at age 35 at least every three years provided the results are normal.

In between checkups and screening tests, keep an eye on your health—particularly if you’re at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Certain symptoms can indicate higher-than-normal levels of blood sugar. Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Increased thirst
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Unusual skin changes
  • Weight loss with no known cause

Symptoms may develop quickly for those who have Type 1 diabetes, while Type 2 diabetes symptoms are often less noticeable and progress over time. Weight loss is more common with Type 1 diabetes, while numbness and tingling in the extremities are more common with Type 2 diabetes.

If you experience any symptoms of diabetes, check in with your medical provider. He or she can run a quick and simple glucose test or an A1C test that looks at your blood sugar levels over a three-month period to help determine whether you have diabetes.

What you can do to protect your health

Having an annual checkup is a great first step to lower your risk of developing diabetes. You can also control many risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. In other words, you have the power to lower your risk!

Take literal steps for better health by getting in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. Fuel your body with healthy food choices, including vegetables and fruit, lean protein sources, and whole grains. Aim for between seven and nine hours of quality sleep each night.

Talk with your provider about what a healthy weight is for you—and work to get to that weight. If you are overweight, losing just 5% to 10% can make a big health impact.

Has it been a while since your last checkup? Schedule a primary care appointment today to have your blood sugar and other health indicators checked!