Given how common diabetes is in the US, it’s important to understand whether or not you are at risk.
Diabetes can’t be “cured” and those with the disease face a lifetime of managing their condition to keep complications in check. That’s why it’s vital to stay alert for signs and know the risk factors. Diabetes Alert Day takes place March 26. Do you know your risk level?
Why does diabetes develop?
We need sugar, also known as glucose, to fuel our physical activities, but when our bodies can’t process it properly, sugar accumulates to dangerous levels in our bloodstream. Type 1 typically develops in children, while type 2 diabetes may develop later in life.
What are the risk factors?
The risk factors for type 1 diabetes are not fully understood, but these variables may play a role:
- Parents with type 1 diabetes
- A mother with gestational preeclampsia
- Illness in infancy
- Autoimmune diseases
Your risk for type 2 diabetes is high if you present the following factors:
- Overweight or obese, particularly if fat centers around the waist
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Gestational diabetes during pregnancy
- Over the age of 45 years old
- Certain populations: African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans
- Family members with diabetes
- A diagnosis of prediabetes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
How can I recognize if I have diabetes?
If you have a medium to high risk of developing diabetes, consult your physician regularly. Meanwhile, stay alert for these signs:
- Excess appetite without weight gain
- Vision problems
- Excess fatigue
- Darkened skin, particularly under arms or around the neck
- Skin that has trouble healing properly
- Feet showing unusual marks, sores or discolorations
- Recurring infections, including fever, rash or flu-like symptoms
When it comes to spotting and treating diabetes, awareness is key. Central Florida Regional Hospital’s Diabetes Education Program provides the tools and resources you need to understand diabetes. To ask a question or sign up for a class, call us at (407) 321-4500, extension 5249.