An astounding 8.3% of the population in the United States has diabetes. That’s 25.8 million people! Even more astounding: 10.9 million of those 25.8 million people are 65 years of age or older. That means that 26.9% of the 65-and-over age group are living with diabetes – more than any other age group. Furthermore, an estimated 79 million people have prediabetes.
It doesn’t seem like a problem anymore, it almost seems like an epidemic that stems from our sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits. Well…that is the impression you get if you tune in to the hit show The Biggest Loser – and it’s not too far from the truth. To be fair, type 1 diabetes results from the body not producing insulin, and it is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Typically, this population has inherited risk factors, and the type 1 diabetes is set off by a trigger. So, with only 5% of people with type 1 diabetes, it is safe to say type 2 diabetes stems from lifestyle choices, even though type 2 also has roots in genetic causes. Obesity tends to run in families, and family members also have tend to have similar eating and exercise habits.
Early detection and treatment can decrease the chance of developing life-threatening complications, and with many symptoms seemingly harmless, diabetes often goes undiagnosed. So the questions become, “Just what is prediabetes, and what are those symptoms you should be looking out for?”
Just like it sounds, prediabetes is where your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough for you to be diagnosed with diabetes. The majority of people that develop type 2 diabetes typically have prediabetes. Recent studies have found that even prediabetes can cause long-term damage to the heart and circulatory system. There are three different tests your doctor can perform to determine if you have prediabetes: the A1C test, the fasting plasma glucose test, and the oral glucose tolerance test.
Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms
- Frequent urination
- Unusual thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Unusual weight loss
- Extreme fatigue and Irritability
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
- Any of the type 1 symptoms
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
- Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Recurring skin, gum or bladder infections
What should you do if you have any of these symptoms? If you have one or more, consult with your doctor. You can also take an Online Diabetes Risk Test at http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/diabetes-risk-test/ to find out if you are at risk.
The good news is that you can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes by changing your diet and incorporating some physical activity into your lifestyle. There are also treatment options available for type 1 and type 2 diabetes to delay the various complications associated with both types. A wealth of information regarding prevention and treatment can be found at www.diabetes.org.
Research & Community Education
Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living
Statistics and symptoms taken from www.diabetes.org