November is American Diabetes Month. Know the signs to stay healthy.
Diabetes strikes about 8% of the US population, according to the American Diabetes Association. The sooner diabetes is detected, the simpler it is to prevent or reduce its complications. American Diabetes Month is the perfect time to ask yourself if you could be at risk.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes develops when the body doesn't properly generate or process insulin. Without insulin, blood sugar spikes, causing serious damage to organs if not brought back to normal levels. Type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes are the three most common forms the disease takes.
What are the symptoms?
Diabetes often goes undetected because its symptoms may be only slight or develop gradually. If you are obese, as defined by your BMI (greater than 30), your chance of developing diabetes is greater. Race is also strongly linked to type 2 diabetes. These groups include African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Type 1 is usually diagnosed during childhood. Symptoms include:
- frequent urination
- excessive hunger or thirst
- unplanned weight loss
- excessive fatigue or weakness
Type 2 diabetes features all of the above symptoms, as well as the following:
- recurring infections
- itchy or dry skin
- changes in vision
- cuts or bruises that heal unusually slowly
- numbness in the hands or feet
Most pregnant women experience frequent urination and greater hunger and thirst than than they do prior to pregnancy, making detection of gestational diabetes more difficult. Testing is routinely done between week 24 and 28 of pregnancy and is an extremely important screening for both mother and child.
How can I learn more?
Read more about diabetes facts and statistics at the American Diabetes Association website. Brandon Regional Hospital offers many resources that can educate and support you as well. Call us at (813) 681-5551 or call our free Consult-A-Nurse service at 1-800-327-2636.