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Stopping Diabetes in Its Tracks This November

Diabetic standing on weight scaleType 2 diabetes (T2D) occurs when the body is no longer able to effectively metabolize sugar for it’s cells. Slowly, the blood sugar levels rise, cells are starved for energy and overall health starts to decline. Fortunately, this disease can be be prevented if caught early on – during the prediabetes stage.

Experts theorize that nearly 80 million Americans are living with prediabetes, and most of them have no idea. Because this condition can lead to T2D, this statistic is staggering. Our country will have an overwhelming number of diabetics in the next couple decades if no steps are taken now.

If you saw our post on UAB’s Diabetes Prevention Program, then you have an idea of this disease’s prevalence. Diabetes poses a threat of epidemic proportions in the U.S. For Diabetes Awareness Month this November, we’re going to share the top risk factors for T2D and prediabetes, as well as the warning signs for each.

Diabetes Risk Factors

Diabetes tends to run in families and there’s two significant reasons for this:

  1. Family members tend to share many of the same lifestyle habits.
  2. Diabetes  has a genetic risk component.

Diabetes clinical studies have shown that certain ethnicities carry a gene which impacts insulin function and heightens risk for type 2 diabetes.The results of these studies suggest that the following ethic/racial groups are at higher risk for diabetes than Caucasians:

  •  Mexican Americans
  • African Americans
  • Native Hawaiians
  • American Indians
  • Asian Americans
  • Pacific Islanders

Additional risk factors to watch out for include obesity, sedentary lifestyles, high blood pressure (hypertension), poor diet, and high cholesterol. Women should also be wary of T2D if they developed gestational diabetes during their pregnancies.

Red Flags for Diabetes

Have you been wondering how nearly 80 million people could be living with prediabetes and not know it? The problem is that the symptoms of this condition manifest very slowly, and they are often easily overlooked.

One of the most common symptoms of prediabetes is a tingling, numbing, or even burning sensation in the hands and feet. This is caused by elevated blood glucose levels which have begun to damage the vessels which transport essential nutrients and oxygen to the nerves. Over time, this nerve damage can become permanent (diabetic neuropathy) and lead to amputation.

Further prediabetes warning signs include blurry vision, extreme thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss or gain, general malaise, and slow healing wounds. If you notice any of these diabetic symptoms in yourself or a loved one, be sure to contact your doctor right away.

Efficiently Treating Diabetes from the Start

In the last decade, prediabetes has grown increasingly common. Fresh insights and advanced technology have made available treatment more effective and easier to use. Consequently, fresh insights and advanced technology have made available treatments more effective and easier to use. This disease can affect the entire body, so treatment must take a holistic approach. The foundation for this improved diabetic treatment strategy is based around an improved nutritious diet and regular physical fitness.

Additionally, improved sleep schedules, nutritional supplements, and proven stress management techniques can play pivotal roles in improving overall wellness and preventing type 2 diabetes. Your doctor may also treat any underlying medical conditions (thyroid problems, high cholesterol, hormonal imbalances, etc.) as part of their overall treatment/wellness plan.

Get Proactive Against Prediabetes

If a prediabetic does not take any of these steps, they may soon develop type 2 diabetes. Then they may need to follow a meticulous daily management regimen. This could involve monitoring blood glucose levels on a daily basis or just several times during the week. Doctors often prescribe insulin and metformin to help patients manage their disease.

Catching prediabetes as early as possible is very important, as this could prevent T2D. If your blood glucose levels are still in that middle ground, then it is not too late to do something about it. Think about what you can do during Diabetes Awareness Month to halt this progression and save yourself from a life with diabetes.

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