Recognize Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes on Diabetes Alert Day
London, Ky. (March 8, 2019) – The number of people in the United States diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled in the past 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC estimates that about 30 million adults are currently living with diabetes, while a staggering 1 in 4 individuals do not even realize they have it. In recognition of Diabetes Alert Day on March 26, CHI Saint Joseph Health and Saint Joseph London encourage the community to recognize the symptoms of this disease and seek further testing if they may be at risk.
“Early detection and treatment of diabetes is vital to a patient’s long-term health,” said Amanda Goldman, director of Diabetes and Nutrition Care, CHI Saint Joseph Health. “A major factor in patients failing to realize that they may have diabetes, or prediabetes, is that they do not recognize the symptoms as being diabetes symptoms.”
Symptoms of diabetes may include frequent urination, chronic thirst, unintentional weight loss, chronic hunger, blurred vision, numb or tingling hands or feet, abnormal fatigue, very dry skin, sores that heal slowly and more infections than usual. If you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms, contact your physician right away for testing to determine if you’re suffering from a type of diabetes or prediabetes.
Diabetes is classified as either Type 1 or Type 2. When there is a lack of the hormone insulin being produced by the pancreas, leading to high blood sugar levels, the disease is known as Type 1. This type of diabetes is the result of an autoimmune disease that attacks insulin-creating cells. Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes, usually develops in childhood or adolescence. But it’s possible to get Type 1 diabetes later in life.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells become insulin-resistant. The pancreas makes more insulin than needed to get cells to respond, and cannot sustain that pace. Blood sugar levels then rise as a result. Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes generally develop slowly; many people with Type 2 diabetes won’t have symptoms for years and will be diagnosed later in life.
Prediabetes affects 1 in 3 people, including approximately 84 million adults in the U.S., according to the CDC. This is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than average, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Regularly monitoring blood sugar levels is the most important and effective way to treat both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Consulting your doctor to establish a healthy diet and exercise routine can substantially help mitigate long-term effects of the disease, while improving overall health and well-being.
“Diabetes is a disease that currently has no cure,” said Goldman. “However, it is extremely treatable, and patients can live normal, regular lives with the right combination of medication, dietary changes, exercise and regular doctor visits.”