Diabetes occurs when blood sugar (glucose) is too high. It affects over 37 million Americans, and the incidence increases as the population ages and people become heavier. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and usually occurs in middle-aged to older adults, but it is becoming increasingly common in younger adults and adolescents. The health consequences of diabetes can include damage to the feet, nerves, kidneys, eyes, and other systems, as well as some forms of cancer.
Signs and symptoms of diabetes may include:
- Frequent urination
- Unintended weight loss
- Slow-healing wounds
Pre-diabetes is a common condition that occurs when blood sugars are too high but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Pre-diabetes puts you at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Most people with pre-diabetes are not aware that they have it.
Risk factors for pre-diabetes include:
- Being over age 45
- Being overweight
- Having had gestational diabetes (diabetes when you are pregnant)
- Having a close relative with Type 2 diabetes
- Being physically active less than 3 times a week
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Talk to your doctor about being tested for diabetes/pre-diabetes. If you have a diagnosis of diabetes, work closely with your physician and manage your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. With many chronic diseases, lifestyle changes, such as exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and good nutrition, can play a role in staying healthy and managing illness.
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