How To Lower Your Risk
Good habits go a long way toward preventing the other health problems that diabetes can cause. Make these tips part of your regular health routine:
Keep tight control of your blood sugar. Itâs the best way to avoid diabetes complications. Your levels should stay in these healthy ranges as much as possible:
- Between 70 and 130 mg/dL before meals
- Less than 180 mg/dL 2 hours after you start a meal
- Glycated hemoglobin or A1C level around 7%
Watch your blood pressure and cholesterol. If theyâre too high, youâre more likely to get other health problems like heart disease. Try to keep your BP below 140/90 and your total cholesterol at or below 200. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help you do that.
Get regular checkups. Your doctor can check your blood, urine, and do other tests to spot any problems. These visits are especially important, since many diabetes complications donât have clear warning signs.
Donât smoke. Lighting up harms your blood flow and raises blood pressure. If you need help to quit, your doctor can recommend treatments that might work for you.
Protect your eyes. Get a yearly eye exam. Your doctor can look for damage or diseases.
Extremely Dry Itchy Skin
Dry, itchy skin
If you have diabetes, youre more likely to have dry skin. High blood sugar can cause this. If you have a skin infection or poor circulation, these could also contribute to dry, itchy skin.
- Tell your doctor about your extremely dry skin. Gaining better control of diabetes can reduce dryness.
- If you continue to have dry skin after you gain better control of your diabetes, a dermatologist can help.
How Can I Tell If My Blood Sugar Is Irregular
Again, only a doctor can diagnose a problem with your blood sugar. But you may be wondering how to know if it’s something you should get checked out. There can be two main issues with your blood sugar — either it’s consistently too high or too low. Even if you don’t have diabetes, there are some signs that your blood sugar levels are not functioning normally.
Hypoglycemia is a condition in which your blood sugar is too low. Signs include an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, shakiness and tingling or numbness in your face. If you consistently feel this way when you get hungry or between meals, talk to your healthcare provider.
On the flipside, hyperglycemia happens when your blood sugar is too high, and can happen to nondiabetics. Symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst and headache. If you think you’re hyperglycemic and can’t keep fluids or food down, call for emergency medical assistance.
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Blood Tests Used To Diagnose Diabetes
We will explain below the different blood tests that could be used to diagnose your diabetes. Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you have and will then decide which type of blood test to use.
Having blood tests doesn’t need to be worrying, theyre straightforward and shouldnt take very long. Depending on the test you have you may be required to fast beforehand. If you do need to fast, a healthcare professional will let you know in advance.
You’ve Got Weird Dark Spots On Your Skin
Darkening skin around the nape of your neck, under your armpits, or even in your groin area is a surprising and common early sign of insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetesthe medical name for the condition is acanthosis nigricans .
We see this often in women with polycystic ovary syndrome , says Kellis, who notes that women with PCOS are at an increased risk of insulin issues. If you notice new dark spots on your skin, they’re worth checking out with your doctor.
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There Are Different Types Of Diabetes
Remember that there are actually three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and gestational . In type 1 diabetes, your body just cant produce insulin and in type 2, your body isnt responding to insulin as well as it should be. The symptoms for both types of diabetes are similar, although these symptoms can develop a lot faster in type 1. Find more information on the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes here.
Type 2 diabetes is also a lot more common than type 1. Unfortunately, many people who have it, arent diagnosed. This is because they dont recognize the symptoms or may attribute them to other conditions. Plus, some symptoms of type 2 diabetes may not show up for years and years.
Watch Your Portion Sizes
This will help you lose weight and keep your blood sugar steady. Your CDE will teach you how to adjust your meal sizes and timing.
A smaller dinner plate — 9 inches or less across — can make it easier to get used to eating smaller meals. Snack-sized 100-calorie packages are another good way to keep your portions in check.
Don’t skip meals though. When you haven’t had lunch, you’re much more likely to be extra-hungry and then overeat at dinner. Consistency is key.
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You’re Losing Weightbut Aren’t Trying To
Unexplained weight loss can happen for lots of reasons, and diabetes is one of them. Goundan explains that insulin helps your body move sugar from your blood to your cells, so when you have an insulin resistance, you dont get enough energy into your cells despite all that sugar flowing through your body. Because youre unable to get enough energy from sugar, your body burns your own fat and muscle for energy,” Kellis says. “Weight loss can be pretty significant, sometimes 10 to 20 pounds.”
Generally, doctors recommend visiting the doc if you unintentionally lose between 5 to 10 percent of your body weight over the course of six months.
Darker Area Of Skin That Feels Like Velvet
A dark patch of velvety skin on the back of your neck, armpit, groin, or elsewhere could mean that you have too much insulin in your blood. This is often a sign of prediabetes.The medical name for this skin condition is acanthosis nigricans.
Often causing darker skin in the creases of the neck, AN may be the first sign that someone has diabetes.
- Get tested for diabetes
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Back Upremind Me What Diabetes Is Again
Diabetes isn’t just one disease. There are actually three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Most people with diabetes have type 2it happens when your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep your blood sugar stable, per the CDC.
Type 1 diabetes is much less commononly about 5 percent of those with diabetes have type 1and it’s essentially an autoimmune disease where your body stops making insulin at all .
And gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant womenit usually goes away after you give birth, but it can increase your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes later on, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases .
All three types of diabetes can easily be detected though a blood test. The test, essentially, checks to see if your blood glucose is too high. But be warned: You can’t diagnose yourselfnot even with an OTC blood glucose meter, per the NIDDK.
Unfortunately, many people are walking around with undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes because the symptoms are super-subtle, says Poorani Goundan, M.D., an endocrinologist at Boston Medical Center.
These sneaky diabetes symptoms might indicate that it’s time to head into your doctor’s office for a test.
Treating High Blood Glucose
Hyperglycaemia can occur when your blood glucose levels become too high. It can happen for several reasons, such as eating too much, being unwell or not taking enough insulin.
If you develop hyperglycaemia, you may need to adjust your diet or your insulin dose to keep your glucose levels normal. Your diabetes care team can advise you about the best way to do this.
If hyperglycaemia isn’t treated, it can lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, where the body begins to break down fats for energy instead of glucose, resulting in a build-up of ketones in your blood.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is very serious and, if not addressed quickly, it can lead to unconsciousness and, eventually, death.
The signs of diabetic ketoacidosis include:
- frequently passing urine
Read more about the symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis
Your healthcare team will educate you on how to decrease your risk of ketoacidosis by testing your own blood for ketones using blood ketone sticks if you’re unwell.
If you develop diabetic ketoacidosis, you’ll need urgent hospital treatment. You’ll be given insulin directly into a vein . You may also need other fluids given by a drip if you’re dehydrated, including salt solution and potassium.
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Youre Rarely In Motion
Regular physical activity helps your body use insulin more efficiently, says Halprin. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, decreases your risk of prediabetes and diabetes. If youre used to a sedentary lifestyle, start small with a 10-minute walk three times a day. Once youve found your groove , kick things up a notch until youre a regular mover and shaker. Ideally, you should aim to log at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.
Tingling Numbness Or Pain In The Hands Or Feet
High blood sugar levels can affect blood circulation and damage the bodys nerves. In people with type 2 diabetes, this can lead to pain or a sensation of tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.
This condition is known as neuropathy, and it can worsen over time and lead to more serious complications if a person does not get treatment for their diabetes.
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Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes
There are genetic and environmental risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.
Those most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes include:
- people with pre-diabetes
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 35 and over
- people aged 35 and over who are Pacific Islanders, Maori, Asian Middle Eastern, North African or Southern European
- people aged 45 and over who are overweight, have high blood pressure or have a first-degree relative with type 2 diabetes
- all people with cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, angina, stroke, or narrowed blood vessels
- women with polycystic ovary syndrome who are overweight
- women who have had gestational diabetes
- people aged 55 or over
- people with a first-degree relative with type 2 diabetes
- people taking certain antipsychotic medication or corticosteroid medication.
Lifestyle risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
- being overweight, especially around the waist
- low levels of physical activity, including more than two hours of television watching per day
- unhealthy eating habits, such as regularly choosing high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt or low-fibre foods
- cigarette smoking
- high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Determining If You Have Borderline Diabetes
Prediabetes is a silent condition, so getting a regular wellness checkup is important for early detection. If you think you might have borderline diabetes, discuss your concerns with your doctor.
If your doctor is concerned you may have prediabetes, theyll most likely perform a hemoglobin A1c test or oral glucose tolerance test .
HbA1c is an indicator of your blood sugar patterns over the last two to three months, so its often a better overall picture than a single fasting blood sugar check. An HbA1c level between 5.7 and 6.4 indicates prediabetes.
looked into how lifestyle changes could help prevent diabetes. What they found should give people at risk of diabetes a lot of hope.
With modest weight loss and exercise, study participants reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent over three years.
The power of healthy food and exercise habits cant be overstated. Take charge of your health by focusing on simple dietary and lifestyle changes.
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Choose Your Diagnosis To Learn More
Diabetes Canada is your place to find everything you need to gain a deeper understanding of how to live a healthier life. Being newly diagnosed can be an intimidating experience but just know we have the tools and resources you need to succeed. Take action to live your best life. There are several types of diabetes. This section will help you understand your diagnosis and learn more about how to manage it.
Can Symptoms Appear Suddenly
In people with type 1 diabetes, the onset of symptoms can be very sudden, while in type 2 diabetes, they tend to come about more gradually, and sometimes there are no signs at all.
Symptoms sometimes occur after a viral illness. In some cases, a person may reach the point of diabetic ketoacidosis before a type 1 diagnosis is made. DKA occurs when blood glucose is dangerously high and the body can’t get nutrients into the cells because of the absence of insulin. The body then breaks down muscle and fat for energy, causing an accumulation of ketones in the blood and urine. Symptoms of DKA include a fruity odor on the breath, heavy, taxed breathing and vomiting. If left untreated, DKA can result in stupor, unconsciousness, and even death.
People who have symptomsof type 1 or of DKAshould contact their health care provider immediately for an accurate diagnosis. Keep in mind that these symptoms could signal other problems, too.
Some people with type 1 have a “honeymoon” period, a brief remission of symptoms while the pancreas is still secreting some insulin. The honeymoon phase usually occurs after someone has started taking insulin. A honeymoon can last as little as a week or even up to a year. But its important to know that the absence of symptoms doesn’t mean the diabetes is gone. The pancreas will eventually be unable to secrete insulin, and, if untreated, the symptoms will return.
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Yellowish Scaly Patches On And Around Your Eyelids
These develop when you have high fat levels in your blood. It can also be a sign that your diabetes is poorly controlled.The medical name for this condition is xanthelasma.
- Tell your doctor about the yellowish scaly patches around your eyes.
- Talk with your doctor about how to better control your diabetes. Controlling diabetes can clear the scaly patches.
Yellow Reddish Or Brown Patches On Your Skin
This skin condition often begins as small raised solid bumps that look like pimples. As it progresses, these bumps turn into patches of swollen and hard skin. The patches can be yellow, reddish, or brown.
You may also notice:
- The surrounding skin has a shiny porcelain-like appearance
- You can see blood vessels
- The skin is itchy and painful
- The skin disease goes through cycles where it is active, inactive, and then active again
- Get tested for diabetes, if you have not been diagnosed.
- Work with your doctor to better control your diabetes.
- See a dermatologist about your skin. Necorbiosis lipodica is harmless, but it can lead to complications.
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What Are The First Signs Of Being A Diabetic
The first signs of insulin resistance typically come on very slowly for people with high blood sugar levels. Blurry vision, increased urination, feeling hungry, extreme thirst, and finding that you have itchy, dry skin are all warning signs that you could be in the early stages of type 2 diabetes.
Some other signs may be harder to pin down. For women, an increase in the frequency of urinary tract infections can be a sign of high blood sugar, but this is only one possible cause of a UTI. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the unexplained weight loss and vomiting can also come from a host of gastrointestinal conditions and diseases including serious conditions such as cancer. Similarly, dry, itchy skin could be a sign you are progressing through the stages of prediabetes, but there are also a host of other skin conditions that could be at play.
One thing to consider is how slowly your symptoms appear or worsen. Typically, your blood sugar levels rise slowly over months or years, which can make the appearance of individual symptoms harder to spot. One exception to how quickly symptoms appear is gestational diabetes that affects women during pregnancy. The rapid changes in hormones associated with pregnancy can mean that you produce insulin or reabsorb it differently, even if you do not have some of the risk factors that are typically present at the onset of symptoms in people who are not pregnant.
Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetes
Anyone can develop diabetes. Thats why its important to get tested if you notice any of the signs or symptoms. These arent always easy to spot. In fact, type 2 diabetes is often diagnosed through blood tests for other conditions or health issues instead.
Always talk to your doctor about any symptoms youre worried about, even if youve been tested. If youre not offered a test, you can ask for one .
If you feel very unwell or your symptoms have come on quickly seek an urgent appointment with your GP or call NHS 111.
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Diabetes: 12 Warning Signs That Appear On Your Skin
Diabetes can affect many parts of your body, including your skin. When diabetes affects the skin, its often a sign that your blood sugar levels are too high. This could mean that:
You have undiagnosed diabetes, or pre-diabetes
Your treatment for diabetes needs to be adjusted
If you notice any of the following warning signs on your skin, its time to talk with your doctor.