When was the last time you checked your blood sugar levels? If you can’t remember the last time, then it’s probably time to get them checked because you might be at risk for developing diabetes. Being diagnosed with diabetes often leads to other health complications that can increase your risk for other diseases like cardiovascular disease.
There are millions of people who are not aware of the symptoms or signs of diabetes and are, in fact, prediabetic. If you have a family history of diabetes, then this also puts you at risk for developing it. In light of National Diabetes Month, AFC Urgent Care Natick wants to help educate those who are at risk of diabetes so that they can manage their blood sugar levels now and avoid diabetes altogether. Here’s what you should know:
I heard there’s more than one type of diabetes to look out for
Yes! There are 3 major “types” of diabetes. Besides being prediabetic, which is technically the 4th one, you don’t want to ignore the symptoms otherwise you may develop a more serious one like type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. Our pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that uses sugar for energy. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. Once diagnosed, people living with diabetes, whether it be Type 1 or Type 2, have to continue daily treatment and management in order to live a healthy life.
The 3 main types of diabetes include Type 1, 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 2 is the most common diabetes usually affecting adults later in life, but which can be easily influenced by lifestyle choices such as poor diet, smoking and a lack of exercise. People who have a family history can also increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Diabetes is on the rise in the U.S
Every year the CDC updates their database with information on diabetes, risk factors and management. If you don’t check your blood sugar levels regularly, consider these statistics so you don’t end up becoming a statistic in the years to come:
- More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 4 of them don’t know they have it.
- More than 88 million US adults have prediabetes, and 84% of them don’t know they have it.
- Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States
- Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5%.
- In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged, eaten poorly and/or become more overweight or obese.
- People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke than people without.
Diabetes is a serious health threat. If it’s been a while since your last blood work you’re probably wondering if you have prediabetes or diabetes. But, what are the symptoms and risks for diabetes?
Beware of the symptoms and risk factors for diabetes
The symptoms and risk for diabetes may include one or more of the following:
- Have prediabetes
- Are overweight
- Are 45 years or older
- Family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol
- Little to no physical activity per week
- Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
- Have high blood pressure or take medicine for high blood pressure
- Increased thirst and urination
- Increased hunger
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- Sores that do not heal
- Unexplained weight loss
If left unmanaged, diabetes can lead to other health complications
Lifestyle choices and behaviors can easily be managed so that you don’t develop other health complications. According to NDDIK, having diabetes puts you more at risk of developing heart disease. Heart disease is ranked as one of the top leading causes of death in the United States. Having diabetes also puts you at risk for heart attacks, stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and more. If smoking is a part of your lifestyle this can increase the risk even higher as your arteries will thin out and make your heart weaker.
The National Diabetes Awareness Month is focused this year on the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If you check your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol/triglycerides regularly you have a better chance at managing diabetes or preventing it.
Check your risk for diabetes at AFC Urgent Care Natick
AFC Urgent Care Natick offers routine blood work for diabetes. If you can’t get an appointment with your primary care, come see us and we’ll help check your blood sugar levels.
You can walk into our AFC location in Natick, MA at 945 Worcester St. any day of the week. We are open 7 days a week and there is no appointment needed when visiting us. We also accept most insurances.