In the United States, 21.4 percent of the population is living with undiagnosed diabetes, which equates to 7.3 million people. That is a rather large number compared to the 10.5 percent, or 34.2 million people of the United States living with diagnosed diabetes. This shocking statistic as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may indicate that knowing the early signs of diabetes is very important.
What is Diabetes?
Although there are two types of diabetes, type 2 is much more common. Type 1 is typically diagnosed in childhood and less likely to go undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes has been called “adult-onset diabetes,” but as childhood obesity rates rise, so does childhood type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disorder that impacts the body’s ability to metabolize glucose (sugar) and appropriately use the insulin that the body should naturally create. Insulin is what helps the body metabolize the glucose that you get from eating and drinking. In type 2 diabetes, the body may not make enough insulin, or it resists the effects of insulin, both creating issues with properly using the sugars that we get from our diets.
Prediabetes is a condition that consists of symptoms of diabetes with elevated blood sugars that are not high enough to be classified as diabetes. If left untreated, this condition can easily advance into type 2 diabetes.
Do I Have Diabetes?
After learning a little about the condition, you may find yourself wondering, “how do I know if I have diabetes?” The following are risk factors and diabetes symptoms to watch for:
Risk Factors for Diabetes
- Weight – Obesity is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
- Family history – A person has a much higher risk of developing diabetes if the parents or siblings have the condition.
- Lack of exercise – When exercising, the body uses glucose for energy. This can help your body learn to use its glucose and insulin more effectively and is why frequent activity may be prescribed to help manage diabetes.
- Fat distribution – Interestingly, type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in those whose fat cells mostly sit in the abdomen as opposed to those carrying it in the thighs and hips.
- Age – Type 2 diabetes is more likely after age 45.
- Prediabetes – If prediabetes is left untreated, it is likely to advance to diabetes
- Gestational diabetes – A person who had gestational diabetes becomes more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Frequent infections
- Increased hunger
- Unintentional weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Skin discoloration at the neck and armpits
- Sores/wounds/cuts that heal very slowly
If you think you may be having diabetes symptoms, it is important to speak with your doctor as soon as suspicions arise. Long-term complications of the heart, eyes, ears, liver, kidneys, and skin are more likely the longer diabetes goes untreated.
Treating and Managing Diabetes
Lifestyle choices are a great way to help your body learn how to properly use what it makes to metabolize its intake. This includes being active and making healthy food and drink choices.
Another option for managing your prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is bariatric surgery. There are multiple types of bariatric surgery that may be right for you and your body. Because the leading cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity, bariatric surgery to help you lose weight can be your top defense against this chronic condition.
Weight loss is not easy, but with the team at Advanced Laparoscopic Associates, your journey can begin right away. From choosing the right surgery for you, to completing a post-operative nutrition plan, ALA will be here for you every step of the way. Let’s tackle type 2 diabetes together. Contact us today to get started.