Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the United States, with the CDC reporting that around 34.2 million Americans suffer from the disease.
Diabetes is a metabolic condition where the glucose levels in the blood are consistently too high because the pancreas isn’t able to produce enough of the hormone insulin to keep the blood sugar levels under control. Sometimes this issue is unpreventable and will occur from birth, which is called Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes starts out with simple insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when the cells that absorb glucose and convert it into energy no longer respond to insulin as easily as they should, resulting in more insulin being released to compensate. Eventually, the body will be unable to meet the increasing demand for more insulin, leaving excess glucose in the blood and causing high blood sugar.
SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES
Insulin resistance and prediabetes often don’t come with any symptoms, but once the problem develops into full Type 2 Diabetes, several symptoms can present themselves, both minor and serious. These symptoms include:
- Higher risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke
- Increased hunger and thirst
- Blurry vision
- More frequent urination
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- More frequent infections
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Nerve damage
WHAT CAUSES DIABETES?
Diabetes has a multitude of risk factors, some of which are unfortunately beyond our control. These risk factors include being over the age of 45, ethnicity, and family history. The risk from family history is especially prevalent in those that have a very close family member, such as a sibling or parent, that suffers from diabetes.
The risk factors that are most often at fault for causing diabetes are more lifestyle based and typically easier to control. The biggest risk factor is obesity, which can triple the likelihood that one develops diabetes, though one does not need to be overweight to be diabetic. Lack of activity and a poor diet can also play an important role in diabetes risk, as well as increasing one’s risk for obesity. Other factors include poor sleeping quality, and unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking.
HOW CAN DIABETES BE PREVENTED OR TREATED?
People that have diabetes often need to take medications like insulin and metformin to help them combat the disease, but lifestyle changes are often required as well if one wants to achieve remission from diabetes. This means becoming more active and exercising more, while also eating a healthier diet and correcting the unhealthy habits like poor sleep. This doesn’t make the risk of diabetes go away, and it is very possible for someone to revert back to diabetes again if they aren’t careful.
Preventing diabetes can be achieved in much the same way, with healthier lifestyle choices that reduce the risk of insulin resistance and other chronic diseases. At Way2Well we help by providing the blood testing that gives you the deepest insight into how your body is responding to risk factors, and providing convenient and comprehensive treatment plans that will assist you in preventing or reversing insulin resistance and diabetes.
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