November is here, and with it, the holiday season. Last year, many of our holiday gatherings were canceled, but this year, it's looking like we can indulge in Grandma's stuffing and holiday sweets and treats. However, before you dig into the feast, it's essential to consider your blood sugar levels. Diabetes can loom as a health risk, potentially putting a damper on the celebrations.
AFC Urgent Care Natick wants to ensure you are informed during American Diabetes Month, so you can take steps to avoid the onset of diabetes. Let's break it down in simple terms.
You Could Be at Risk: Different Types of Diabetes
Firstly, it's crucial to understand that there's not just one type of diabetes; there are several. The main ones are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, but there's also gestational diabetes, affecting pregnant women.
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body processes food for energy. Your pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that helps your body utilize sugar for energy. If you have diabetes, it means your body either doesn't produce enough insulin or can't use the insulin effectively.
The three primary types are:
- Type 1 Diabetes: Typically diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. In this type, the body doesn't produce insulin, necessitating daily insulin injections.
- Type 2 Diabetes: More common in adults, although it can occur at any age. It is often associated with poor lifestyle choices such as an unhealthy diet, smoking, and a lack of exercise.
- Gestational Diabetes: Develops during pregnancy in women without a history of diabetes. It occurs because the body cannot produce sufficient insulin during pregnancy.
Diabetes is on the Rise
Diabetes is a growing concern in the United States. In 2019, 37.3 million Americans, or 11.3% of the population, had diabetes. This included nearly 1.9 million people with Type 1 diabetes. The risk of developing diabetes increases if you have a family history or engage in poor lifestyle choices like a sedentary routine or unhealthy eating habits. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, making it crucial to address the issue.
Prediabetes is ALSO on the rise and there are many people who are prediabetic and they don’t even know it!
Symptoms and Risk Factors for Diabetes
Risk factors for diabetes may include:
- Being overweight
- Age 45 or older
- Family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol issues
- Lack of physical activity
- Gestational diabetes during pregnancy or giving birth to a baby over 9 pounds
- High blood pressure or using medication for it
Symptoms of diabetes can manifest as:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Excessive hunger
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Slow-healing sores
- Unexplained weight loss
Diabetes Can Also Lead to Complications
It's essential to manage lifestyle choices and behaviors to avoid diabetes-related health complications. Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It can also lead to issues like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes, particularly if you're a smoker.
American Diabetes Awareness Month this year focuses on the connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol is crucial to managing and preventing diabetes.
Check Your Blood Sugar Levels at AFC Urgent Care Natick
AFC Urgent Care Natick offers routine blood work for diabetes. If you can't secure an appointment with your primary care physician, come see us. We're open seven days a week, and no appointments are needed. We also accept most insurances.
Taking control of your health is a proactive step towards a happier, healthier life. Don’t forget, our easy to use online payment system only takes a few clicks and it can help you take care of that bill anywhere you want.