The new numbers are out from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and it doesnt look good. The federal health agency estimates that more than a third of Americans are pre-diabetic and a whopping 26 million already have the disease. Whats more, 79 million adults have blood sugar levels that are above normal, but not yet high enough to be considered diabetic.
Diabetes can cause serious complication such as kidney failure and blindness and put a person at risk for heart disease and stroke, yet 27 percent of those with diabetes are unaware they have it.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE TYPE 2 DIABETES?
Increased thirst and frequent urination. As excess sugar builds up in your bloodstream, fluid is pulled from the tissues. This may leave you thirsty. As a result, you may drink and urinate more than usual.
Increased hunger. Without enough insulin to move sugar into your cells, your muscles and organs become depleted for energy. This triggers intense hunger.
Weight loss. Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, you may lose weight. Without the ability to use glucose, the body uses alternative fuels stored in muscle and fat. Calories are lost as excess glucose is released in the urine.
Fatigue. If your cells are deprived of sugar, you may become tired and irritable.
Blurred vision. If your blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your eyes. This may affect your ability to focus clearly.Slow-healing sores or frequent infections. Type 2 diabetes affects your ability to heal and resist infections.Areas of darkened skin. Some people with Type 2 diabetes have patches of dark, velvety skin in the folds and creases of their bodies usually in the armpits and neck. This condition, called acanthosis nigricans, may be a sign of insulin resistance The only ray of light in this distressing news: there are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. How to do it:1. Get daily physical activity. Exercise improves the action of insulin, moving glucose out of the bloodstream and into tissues where it can be used for energy. 2. Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, the more pounds you lose, the lower your chances of developing diabetes. Talk with your doctor about what your optimum weight should be, and how to achieve it. 3. Eat a diet low in refined carbohydrates, and incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil) into your diet. 4. Manage your health. Get regular checkups for blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and seek treatment if necessary. Robin Westen is ThirdAges medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. She is the author of The Big Book of Personality Quizzes.See what others have to say about this story or leave a comment of your own.
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