Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin which helps to control blood sugar levels. Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is an important source of energy for the body but when the body does not use insulin properly it causes blood sugars to be too high and can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and possibly the loss of toes, feet, or legs.
Why get screened?
Diabetes is currently the eighth leading cause of death in the United States and studies show that deaths related to diabetes may be under-reported! Today, 1 in 10 U.S adults have diabetes, and 1 in 3 have prediabetes.
Besides taking our Diabetes Assessment, it’s important to know your numbers & where you stand now. Our affordable health screenings, such as our Blood Chemistry or Hemoglobin A1c screenings, are great places to start when wanting to know your risk of diabetes.
Who should get screened?
Many people who have prediabetes and even type 2 diabetes do not have symptoms at first, which puts them at risk of having complications from the disease. The most common symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination, increased thirst, and extreme hunger. If you have these symptoms, consult with your doctor about getting tested for your risk of diabetes.
There are risk factors that put you at a higher risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
You can get type 2 diabetes at any age, but you are at a higher risk if you are older, overweight, have a family history of diabetes, are not physically active, or are a woman who has had gestational diabetes.
While diabetes occurs in people of all ages and races, some groups have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/ Pacific Islanders, as well as the older population.
Before most people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, they have what is called “prediabetes”. Prediabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be officially diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes. Prediabetes can often be reversed with lifestyle changes.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin, or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar. Sugar is the basic fuel for cells in the body, and insulin takes sugar from the blood into cells. Having high blood sugar levels over time may cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, or the heart. Diabetes also puts you at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Learn about your risk for heart disease.
Managing diabetes with lifestyle changes
- If you have prediabetes, losing a small amount of weight if you’re overweight and getting regular physical activity can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. A small amount of weight loss means around 5-7% of your body weight, just 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person. Regular physical activity means getting at least 150 minutes a week of brisk walking or a similar activity. That’s just 30 minutes a day, five days a week!
- Knowing what to eat can be confusing but following some basic principles can be helpful in making healthful food choices. Learn how to make healthy food choices, learn how to read food labels, and maintain a healthy diet, without giving up all the foods you love. Click here to take our Nutrition Screening.
- Deal with stress. Ask for help if you need it. Talk to your family, friends, your healthcare provider, or mental health professional. Click here to take our Stress Screening.
- Monitor your numbers year-after-year. With our affordable preventive health screenings you’ll be able to uncover your personal risk factors and learn how to take control of your health. Done on your own time, no insurance needed, no surprise fees, and no confusing results! Click here to find Affordable Screenings.
There is a lot that can be done to reduce the risk for pre-diabetes as well as action taken to prevent the onset of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association has a wealth of resources for people with diabetes. People with pre-diabetes can expect to benefit from much of the same advice for good nutrition and physical activity.