Approximately 13 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, though the cause is still unknown. Many people do not know they are at risk for diabetes. Many doctors believe the lack of exercise and excess weight are significant factors.
If a person is under 65 and gets little or no exercise, or over 65, he may be a candidate for diabetes. If a person is overweight, has a family history of diabetes, or is Hispanic, African American, Asian American, Native American, or a Pacific Islander, he may be a candidate for diabetes.
A woman who has given birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds may also have a higher risk for diabetes. Symptoms of diabetes include extreme thirst and hunger, weight loss, fatigue, frequent urination, general irritability, and blurred vision.
Most people experience each of these symptoms from time to time, so they are easily ignored. If you or a loved one experiences some or all of these symptoms regularly, see your doctor about diabetes testing.
Pre-diabetes is a condition when blood sugar levels are elevated but have not reached dangerous levels. Having pre-diabetes does not mean a person will ultimately have diabetes. Progression to diabetes can be avoided through weight loss, diet, exercise, avoiding tobacco, and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
To test for diabetes or pre-diabetes, a doctor will give a Fasting Plasma Glucose Test or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test to determine blood sugar levels. After a fast, if blood sugar levels are above 100, a person may have pre-diabetes.
If blood sugar levels are above 125, a person may have diabetes. Treatment for diabetes includes insulin injections and a change in habits. Daily exercise and a healthy diet of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains will help to prevent diabetes.