Defeat Diabetes: Know the Facts and Raise Awareness

Posted: 4/5/2022 1:55 PM by Interim HealthCare

Chances are, you know someone who has diabetes. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly common. Currently, more than 34 million Americans (one in 10 people) are living with diabetes – and 90 to 95 percent of those diagnosed have type 2 diabetes, a long-term (chronic) condition that results in too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream. 

If left unmanaged, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious and life-threatening health problems.

What is type 2 diabetes?
Our bodies naturally transfer sugar from the bloodstream to cells through a hormone called insulin. For a person without diabetes, that sugar will convert to energy that keeps the cells alive. But for people with type 2 diabetes, it’s different – their bodies don’t make enough insulin (or any at all, in some cases) to effectively transfer the sugar from their blood to the cells. And when this happens, insulin remains stuck in their bloodstream causing high blood sugar. 

What are risk factors for type 2 diabetes and how can we prevent it?
If you knew you could prevent life-threatening disease, would you do what it takes to make it happen? It’s estimated that at least 90% of type 2 diabetes cases are preventable, mostly through simple lifestyle changes. 

According to The Defeat Diabetes Foundation, there are two categories of risk factors –modifiable and non-modifiable. 

Modifiable risk factors are considered as such because you can take measures to change them. The Modifiable risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes include:

  • Diet
  • Physical Activity
  • Weight
  • Sleep
  • Smoking
  • Stress

Non-Modifiable risk factors are things we aren’t able to control. The non-modifiable risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes include:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Birth Weight
  • Ethnicity
  • Socio-Economic status
  • Some Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

For people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it’s especially important to focus on the modifiable risk factors, since these are things we can control. Living a healthy lifestyle will not only help prevent type 2 diabetes, but it could also contribute to reducing your risk of developing many other diseases, including cancer. It goes without saying that if you smoke, you need to quit immediately. You should also make your diet, physical activity, and weight a priority, too. Be sure to focus on getting quality, restful, sleep, and do your best to manage your stress. 

You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to make yourself a priority. Work with your primary care provider if you struggle with any of these risk factors – they will be your biggest cheerleader and will want to help you reduce your risk of any diseases, including type 2 diabetes. 

What are signs you may have diabetes? When should you call your doctor?
Signs and symptoms of diabetes should not be ignored. According to the CDC, the following symptoms can indicate type 2 diabetes:

  • A need to urinate (pee) frequently, often at night
  • You’re very thirsty and very hungry all the time 
  • You’re losing weight without trying
  • You’re having trouble with blurry vision
  • Numbness or tingling sensations in the hands or feet
  • Constant feelings exhaustion
  • Very dry skin
  • You have sores that heal slowly
  • You’re experiencing more infections than usual

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. 

How is type 2 diabetes diagnosed?
Diabetes is diagnosed by analyzing your blood through a simple blood draw procedure. Your doctor may run some or all of the following tests to determine if you have diabetes:

  • A1C Test
  • Fasting Blood Sugar Test
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Random Blood Sugar Test

Check out the CDC’s diabetes resource page for more specifics on what each test looks for. 

It’s crucial to manage diabetes properly
If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your top priority should be managing the disease properly. The biggest concern for individuals diagnosed is the increased risk of cardiovascular problems that often accompany type 2 diabetes. 

People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of experiencing the following conditions:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Neuropathy
  • Amputations

These very serious health risks often stem from complications with diabetes, which is why it’s so important that individuals with diabetes keep their blood sugar under control. Work closely with your doctor and be sure to take all the medicine and/or insulin they prescribe you every day.

Caring for a loved one with diabetes 
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, the amount of information you will receive can be extremely overwhelming at first. 

Download our Interim HealthCare Diabetes Caregiver Guide to know what to expect and to help you navigate a new type 2 diabetes diagnosis. 
Download the Diabetes Caregivers Guide Here.