What You Should Know about Diabetes
What is diabetes? Diabetes means your body either cannot make or properly use insulin. Insulin is the hormone your body uses to break down sugar and fat. When the body can't properly break down sugar and fat, serious problems can result.
There are two types of diabetes.
- Type 1, which happens most often in children and young adults, is when the body does not produce insulin.
- Type 2, the most common type, is when the body cannot properly use the insulin it produces.
How Diabetes Affects Your Body
When diabetes is controlled, people can live healthy lives. But if it goes uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to many very serious health problems and life-changing results. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to:
- Heart attacks
- Kidney failure
- Leg amputations
The Importance of Screening
Early symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Excessive thirst and frequent urination
- Weight loss, fatigue and drowsiness
- Frequent skin, gum, bladder or vaginal infections
- Slow healing of cuts and bruises
- Blurred vision
- Numb hands or feet
Diabetes often strikes without warning. And the symptoms of diabetes may be so mild that they go unnoticed. That’s why it’s important to get screened for the disease on a regular basis.
The American Diabetes Association recommends you have a fasting plasma glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test if either of these is true:
- You are age 45 or older.
- You are overweight or obese and have any other risk factor for diabetes. (See the risk factors above.)
If your results are normal, it is recommended that you get tested again within three years. If you have prediabetes, you should get retested within two years. Speak with your doctor to find out when testing is right for you.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases , National Diabetes Education Program, National Institutes of Health , American Diabetes Association