Did you know that 34 million Americans have diabetes, but one in five has no idea? These numbers become even more troubling when you learn that an additional 88 million adults — or one in three — have prediabetes, but 84% don’t know it.
Diabetes is a blood sugar disorder that occurs when your body doesn’t process sugar properly, a problem that can cause serious complications. Although it comes in numerous forms, 90-95% of cases are Type 2 diabetes. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, a form that usually occurs suddenly and early in life, Type 2 develops slowly, often starting as prediabetes.
At Healthy Life Family Medicine in Goodyear, Arizona, Dr. John Monroe and our experienced team can help you recognize your risks for Type 2 diabetes and determine if you have prediabetes.
When you have a blood sugar disorder, your body doesn’t make — or use — insulin properly. This hormone turns the sugar from the food you eat into energy.
If your insulin can’t manage the sugar in your system correctly, it stays in your blood, raising your blood sugar levels. Over time, this can cause serious and even life-threatening complications, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Kidney disease
- Nerve damage
- Vision and hearing problems
- Sleep apnea
- Heart attacks and stroke
- Alzheimer’s disease
In the past, we often referred to Type 2 diabetes as adult-onset diabetes since it typically occurred in grown-ups. Now, however, prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes are more common in children as well because of lifestyle changes and genetics.
Fortunately, by learning to identify your risks of high blood sugar, you can catch diabetes early, even if no symptoms are present.
Common risk factors for blood sugar issues
Several things increase your chances of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, including:
- Being age 45 or older
- Being overweight, especially around your abdomen and waist
- Being pregnant or having a history of gestational diabetes
- Having a family history of the disease
- Eating a diet high in sugar, red meat, and processed foods
- Leading a sedentary or inactive lifestyle
Some health conditions can also increase your risks of developing high blood sugar, including polycystic ovary syndrome. Certain ethnicities also have higher rates of prediabetes, including Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
The best way to avoid prediabetes and diabetes involves engaging in regular physical activity, consuming a healthy diet, and watching your weight.
Spotting the signs of a problem
High blood sugar can be hard to identify in the earliest stages since it rarely causes symptoms. But, you could notice darker areas of skin in certain areas of your body, like your knees, elbows, and armpits. However, as your condition advances into Type 2 diabetes, it’s common to experience other issues, including:
- Increased hunger or thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
We can diagnose prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes by performing a blood glucose screening. This test measures your sugar levels.
In many cases, you can manage elevated blood sugar readings with dietary changes and exercise alone. However, our team could also recommend medications and supplements to help you manage your condition.
If you think you have high blood sugar, don’t ignore it. Learn more about prediabetes by calling 623-889-3477 to book an appointment at Healthy Life Family Medicine today.