Glucose is a lifegiving sugar, as it is a source of energy for cells that compose our tissues and muscles. Glucose is also the brain’s source of power. But sometimes our bodies mismanage how blood sugar is used. This condition is referred to as diabetes.
There are at least three known types of diabetes, but they all mean there is an excess of sugar in the blood. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are persistent and serious issues. Gestational diabetes is fortunately reversible since it seems limited to the period of pregnancy.
Here are the warning signs shared by diabetes 1 and 2: extreme hunger, frequent urination, Increased thirst, traces of ketones in the urine (signifying there is insufficient insulin in the body), blurred vision, fatigue, irritability, slow-healing sores, unexplained weight loss, and frequent infections, such as in the gums or skin.
People have observed that for those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, symptoms are sporadic and seem to be no cause for concern. It is the opposite of type 1 diabetes, where symptoms tend to be frequent and more intense.
Both types can occur at any age, but what differentiates the two is that Type 1 diabetes could be present already during adolescence. Type 2 diabetes tends to be more common in people past 40.
Diabetes risk factors depend on the type. The following would influence the chances for type 1: Family history (increased risk if a family member has type 1 ); Environmental factors (increased risk in case patient was exposed to a viral illness); damaging immune system cells (a slightly increased risk for those who have these autoantibodies); Geography (higher rates of type 1 occurrence for those who originate from Finland and Sweden).
On the other hand, these are the risk factors for type 2 diabetes: Weight, Inactivity (increased risk for those with more fatty cells and sedentary lifestyles); Family history (increase risk if there’s a family member with type 2); Race (increased risk for black people, American Indians, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans); Age (increased risk as one gets older); Polycystic ovary syndrome (increased risk for those with this condition); High blood pressure (increased risk for those with a BP over 140/90 ); Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels (low levels of good cholesterol will increase risk of type 2).
How does one know if it’s time to call the doctor? Again, based on the common diabetes symptoms, for those 45 or older, getting tested is important. Go to the doctor right away if you are feeling very thirsty, peeing a lot, experiencing acute belly aches, breathing more deeply and faster than the usual, and a breath that smells less like mints and more like solvent (a giveaway for very high ketones, which in turn signal a lack of insulin).
When it comes to prevention, healthy lifestyle choices can help. Go for foods low in fat and calories but higher in fiber. Have more physical activity; 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day is recommended. Lastly, try to do away with excess pounds. In the case of pregnant women, it is best to check with your doctor on how to achieve a healthy weight. It is important to keep your weight in a good range through exercise and good eating habits. By doing so, you will reap amazing benefits such as more energy and a lower risk of diseases like diabetes.