Diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. Currently, one in 10 Americans have diabetes, but researchers believe that about 8 million individuals don’t know that they have the condition. In addition, another 84 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
National diabetes month was created to spread awareness and help people who are at risk to take the steps they need to live a healthier, safer life.
Who is at Risk for Diabetes?
Today, more individuals are being diagnosed with diabetes, primarily people over the age of 65. However, this condition is increasingly common in children and younger adults because of lack of access to healthy foods, portion control issues and lack of exercise.
The good news? People who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes can lower their risk if they make healthy changes. Examples of healthy changes include eating healthy, getting more physical activity, and losing weight.
What are the Side Effects?
Diabetes affects a person’s health in a variety of ways, leading to a higher incidence of kidney disease, vision loss or heart conditions along with neuropathy or infections of the feet. Without constant blood glucose monitoring, individuals with diabetes can have emergency situations that require immediate treatment for hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
What are the Risk Factors?
In addition to age, there are several risk factors for having diabetes, including:
- A family history of the condition.
- Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle
- High cholesterol level or high blood pressure
If you feel that you are at risk, talk to a physician.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Diabetes can have a wide range of symptoms which can make it challenging to diagnose because symptoms vary for each individual. People with diabetes or pre-diabetes may have one or more of the signs:
- Excessive hunger
- Chronic thirst
- Blurred vision
- Wounds that are slow to heal
- Changes in weight
- Tingling and numbness in the legs or the feet
- Frequent headaches
- Sweet or fruity smell from your urine
- Dry mouth
In some cases, the symptoms of diabetes are mild or intermittent, making it difficult for someone to know if they have the condition. This is why it is important to have a blood or urine test for diabetes during your routine physical examination at a medical facility.
Insulin and Diet
Diabetics have a pancreas that isn’t working optimally, and while there is currently no permanent treatment it can be managed by changing your daily lifestyle and using insulin as directed by a doctor. After you are diagnosed, you can learn more about controlling your diet along with engaging in physical activity. You’ll also need to learn how to monitor your glucose levels and a physician may prescribe medication or injectable insulin to help you control your blood glucose levels.
The Benefits of an Emergency Medical Alert Device
It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels frequently, but during a crisis, you will need help right away, especially when you are a senior citizen who lives alone. This is why we suggest having an emergency Medical Alert system in your home or wearing a medical alert device around your neck. With this system, you can contact paramedics, relatives, neighbors or friends right away to get the medical help that you need.