Diabetes and Your Health – First off, thanks for reading this blog article about diabetes and your health. Joseph Rosado MD wants to help you plan ahead for diabetes and how it can affect your health.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is an illness that occurs when blood sugar also known as blood glucose becomes too high. High blood sugar can be due to insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes) or the inability to create insulin (type 1 diabetes).
If you are an adult reading this blog article, most times Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood. So you are more likely to get Type 2 diabetes. Which can develop at any age but is more common in older populations.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is identified as higher than normal. Prediabetes is a serious health condition and approximately 88 million American adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes. Keep in mind that prediabetes is when a person’s blood sugar is not high enough to be type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are conditions that develop when insulin does not work properly in your body anymore. They develop gradually, often over years or decades, and are usually related to lifestyle factors such as diet. There are changes that can be made to lessen the likelihood of progressing this disease lets look at that now.
Early signs and symptoms of diabetes
- Frequent urination
When your blood sugar is high, your kidneys expel the excess blood sugar, causing you to urinate more frequently. One of the early warning signs of diabetes is frequent urination that is urgent enough to wake you up to go to the bathroom during sleep.
- Increased thirst
While your kidneys are working overtime and you’re urinating more frequently, valuable fluids will be pulled from your tissues. Frequent urination will make you feel constantly thirsty.
When your blood sugar is high, your body works hard to get rid of the excess sugar. Not only does this process take a toll on your body, but it also alters the way that your body uses glucose for energy. Excessively high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, has fatiguing effects among other symptoms. Additionally, the dehydration that accompanies more frequent urination is a common cause of fatigue in diabetics.
- Blurred vision
High blood sugar can cause damage to the small blood vessels of the eye, resulting in a swollen lens that can cause blurred vision. As blood sugar levels rise and lower, your vision may return to normal or worsen, respectively.
- Increased hunger
When you have high blood sugar, your body is actively looking to get rid of it. Because your body expels so much of the glucose you’re getting from your food, you may have increased feelings of hunger.
- Unexplained weight loss
With the discharge of excess glucose, you’re losing your largest energy source, and when your body is unable to use glucose for energy, it starts burning fat and muscle, causing weight loss. Unexplained weight loss is considered to be significant at 10 lbs or 5% of overall body weight.
- Slow-healing cuts and wounds
Similar to damaged eye tissue causing blurred vision, damaged blood vessels cause weakened blood circulation. Because of this, it’s harder for blood to reach the affected area, and minor cuts or wounds can take weeks or months to heal. This slow healing makes unhealed cuts and wounds prone to infection, increasing the risk of amputation.
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
High blood sugar can have a significant impact on nerves. This damage can start with feelings of tingling or numbness and can escalate to pain or neuropathy over time.
- Skin discoloration
Insulin resistance can cause your skin to develop dark patches (acanthosis nigricans) that are typically found in the folds of the neck, underarm area, or groin. This darkened skin can appear raised and velvety in texture.
- Yeast infections
The excess sugar in your blood and urine creates an ideal environment for yeast. Yeast can feed off the extra sugar in genital areas, as well as the mouth or armpits. Maintaining blood sugar can help reduce the likelihood of getting yeast infections.
A great thing about prediabetes is that it is often reversible. In most cases, you do not even need medications, all you may need are the right diet plan, additional healthy lifestyle choices such as exercising and avoiding smoking, and a lot of dedication and patience.
Did you know that there is no single “best diet plan for prediabetes”. If you ask 100 people, “What is the best diet for prediabetes?,” you may get 100 different answers – and they may all be correct.
What are the risk factors for developing diabetes?
If you find that you have risk factors for developing diabetes, it’s important to take extra care in preventing the onset of diabetes. Some common risk factors include:
- people who are 45 years or older
- being overweight or obese
- having a sedentary lifestyle
- people with a family history of diabetes
- people with a history of gestational diabetes
- people with a history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke
- people from certain ethnic populations:
- African American,
- Alaska Native,
- American Indian,
- Asian American,
- Native Hawaiian,
- Pacific Islander
Even if you don’t see your particular ethnic background on this list, don’t let your guard down. Here is a shortlist of foods to limit or avoid.
- Processed meats.
- Fried foods.
- Fatty red meat and poultry with skin.
- Solid fats (e.g., lard and butter)
- Refined grains such as white bread, pasta, rice, and crackers, and refined cereals.
- Sweets such as candy, cake, ice cream, pie, pastries, and cookies.
How do you fix prediabetes?
- Eat healthier foods. You can choose foods low in fat, low in calories, and high in fiber.
- Become more active. Aim for at least 2 hours of moderate exercise or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week.
- Work on losing that excess weight.
- Stop smoking.
- Take medications as needed.
Concerned – consider reaching out to Joseph Rosado MD today.
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