Feeling more tired than usual can be caused by a number of things. The same goes for feeling thirsty or having dry skin.
While these problems may not be anything to worry about at all, they could also be symptoms that you have diabetes. In fact, many people who have diabetes are unaware of it. Some people have no symptoms at all.
It’s one of the reasons why you should see your health provider annually for a checkup. A simple blood test can indicate if you have diabetes. Left treated, diabetes can lead to kidney failure, lower limb amputations and adult-onset blindness. People who have diabetes are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart disease.
One in four don’t know they have diabetes.
Diabetes has become a widespread health problem nationwide. In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled. Health authorities say it’s because the American population has aged while more people are overweight or obese.
The latest statistics show that more than 30 million Americans – nearly 10 percent of the U.S. population – have diabetes, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, one in four of them don’t know they have the disease.
It’s all about blood sugar.
If you have diabetes, it means that you’re either not making enough insulin or your body isn’t using insulin the way it should. Insulin, created by the pancreas, allows blood sugar into your body’s cells, to create energy. If you’re not producing enough insulin or can’t use it properly, too much blood sugar remains in your bloodstream.
While diabetes is a serious disease, it can be managed through exercise, healthy eating, taking insulin and other medications to control blood sugar levels.
Know the symptoms and your level of risk.
Other symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, hunger, blurry vision, numb or tingling hands or feet, sores that heal slowly and having more infections than usual. Because symptoms are hard to detect or develop over several years, health authorities say it’s a good idea for everyone to know whether they have certain risk factors that make them more likely to develop the disease.
There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes, which happens during pregnancy. Ninety percent of people with diabetes have type 2. Type 1 occurs mostly in children, teens and young adults.
Type 2 diabetes risk factors
According to the CDC, you’re at risk for developing type 2 diabetes if you:
are 45 years or older
have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
are physically actives less than three times a week
had diabetes during pregnancy
gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, Alaska Native
have prediabetes – a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes.